In the months of your pregnancy, most of your focus may lie with adjusting to your body’s changes and deciding how you want your doctor to carry out the birth procedure. But it’s also good to think about what to expect right after the birth of your baby to put your mind more at ease. These are some of the normal things you’ll probably see in the moments following delivery.
Your Baby’s Initial Behavior
You baby will initially need to make their adjustment to being in the open air by taking their first breath. Many newborns cry during this time, which can be helpful for getting out leftover fluid from their respiratory tract. Sometimes babies may have meconium, which is a thicker, green fecal substance mixed in their amniotic fluid. In those cases, your doctor will put a suction to your baby’s mouth to help remove this and allow them to breathe well. Don’t be surprised if your baby appears slightly blue at first, as it can take some time for their blood to circulate as they breathe. Besides crying, infants may soon fall asleep or want to feed after birth.
Umbilical Cord Cutting
As you probably know, cutting the umbilical cord is a necessary part of the procedure. Following birth, your doctor will immediately clamp the umbilical cord. However, they’ll usually wait thirty seconds to a full minute before cutting the cord. You can also request to hold your baby for a few minutes before proceeding. Following this, you could have either the doctor or your birth partner carefully cut the cord. If you elect to bank the cord blood, your doctor will collect it once the umbilical cord has been separated from your baby. Meanwhile, the delivery of the placenta will usually come within a few minutes after birth.
The Apgar Test
Doctors use the Apgar test to assess the health of your newborn, so it’s a normal part of what to expect right after the birth of your baby. The test consists of checking your child’s breathing, heart rate, skin hue, muscles, and reflexes. For each category, they’ll give your baby a score ranging from 0 to 2. The higher the score, the better you baby has performed according to the test. Most often, babies receive total scores between around seven to nine. If their score is lower than seven, this means that they may need additional attention in a newborn intensive care unit or from a nurse. Still, you shouldn’t worry if your baby scores below seven, as it’s common for healthy infants to score lower due to their bodies’ unfamiliarity with the new environment outside the womb.
Most importantly, after the birth of your baby, take some time to get to know them and bond with them using skin to skin contact. This is the beginning of your life together and you’ll want to remember every moment. Don’t feel pressured or rushed to do anything else but hold your newborn and spend time together.
Christina Duron is a writer living in the Chicagoland area. Her passion for writing and mental health help create thought provoking and engaging pieces and hopes to use them to empower mothers and women to embrace the beauty of motherhood.