With my second child, I was much more at ease because I knew what to expect. Second-time moms have an idea of how their day will go soon after birth. There’s a lot that happens in the initial 24 hours after you deliver. And, if you are expecting your first child, you might be overwhelmed with all that happens after you give birth. Things escalate pretty fast in the delivery room and you don’t want to be caught off-guard after all the work you did to deliver your munchkin. So without further ado, let’s dive into your first 24 hours after delivering your baby.
What Happens To Your Baby
Let’s go over what happens with your baby first. After the big final push, your baby will be cleaned up, the umbilical cord will be cut and your baby will be placed on you for the skin-to-skin contact. However, there are a few things that happen before skin-to-skin contact.
After about 10 minutes post giving birth, the placenta will be delivered. This usually takes about 10-20 minutes. And if you have a perineal tear, your doctor will stitch it as well. During this time, the baby will be weighed and measured.
I had requested for the skin-to-skin contact with my first and second child because I’d heard it had many benefits for both the mom and the baby. So if you’re not sure if it’s done at your hospital, talk to them and see if you can request one. Your baby will be placed within an hour after delivery and you can hold him for a while. Some women even initiate breastfeeding during this time. The sooner the better.
After skin to skin, your baby will be handed over to the hospital staff. This is when they completely clean him up, put the eye ointment and give vitamin K drops. The eye ointment is to prevent any possible risks of getting an eye infection as a result of passing through the birth canal.
Vitamin K is given as your baby’s liver may not be developed enough to produce it. Vitamin K has the ability to clot the blood to prevent excessive bleeding (1).
The nurse will then put on a hospital band on your little munchkin and take him/her with them.
What Happens To You
If you had a normal delivery, you will continue to experience contractions at least until you deliver the placenta. These contractions are mild, but your doctor may ask you to push to facilitate the process. Your stomach may also be gently pressed or massaged to move the placenta forward. There may be an extra gush of blood following the placenta delivery.
In the case of C-section, the placenta is removed before the closing of the incision. Your doctor may also massage the stomach to encourage the shrinking of the uterus.
After the delivery of the placenta, your vitals will be checked by monitoring your blood pressure. They will also check how much blood has been lost and see if everything is going well. Both you and your baby will stay in the delivery room for a couple of hours. Later you will be moved to the postnatal ward. You will be staying here for a night or two to make sure you are recovering properly. For C-section births, this stay might extend to 2 more days. If you have decided to breastfeed, the nurses will help guide you through it. They will tell how to hold your baby and initiate breastfeeding. Some women breastfeed babies during the skin-to-skin contact period.
As soon as you are settled in, the IV will be removed from your arm if it’s not done already. It’ll be left in some cases if they feel you need it. You will be asked to visit the bathroom soon enough to make sure everything is working fine down there. If you had an epidural, you will be given a stand-up wheelchair to use when you pee. The stand-up is given to use your legs as much as you can to promote quick recovery.
And just so you know, peeing is not fun after you have just given birth. But my advice is to do it soon and just get it over with. Your hospital will most likely offer mesh undies, maxi pads, and ice packs or gel packs to ease your postpartum recovery. And if you are offered pain meds, take them because you might need it. It will take you some time to ease into the role of motherhood with your first child. So take all help you can get, eat and rest well at least in the first couple of weeks so that you are up and about your feet in no time.