The moment you give birth, especially for the first time, can be very amazing and stressful at the same time. What happens right after birth will depend on how your baby is born, your labor, and how quickly your baby adapts to its new world.
Below are different birth scenarios and what you should expect for the first few hours after your baby is born.
Vacuum or forceps birth
Most babies delivered with the help of a vacuum or forceps would cry and breathe at birth. However, some babies may be a little slow or stunned to breathe, especially if they went through a lot of stress during labor.
In case this occurs, the obstetrician, pediatrician, or midwife will take your baby to a unique warming station. They will keep your baby dried and ensure she is breathing properly.
Unplanned cesarean section
Babies born during an emergency or an unplanned Caesarean section would most likely need help with breathing at birth. In such cases, the pediatrician or midwife would take your newborn to a special warming station to keep her dry and determine the right type of help to support your baby’s breathing.
However, if your newborn is breathing well and you also have stable health, your midwife would wrap your newborn in warm towels or blankets and give him/her to you to hold while you are on the operating table (except you are on a general anesthetic).
In case your baby requires a lot of assistance to breathe at birth, your newborn may need to head straight to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). You may have to wait until your baby is well before giving your first cuddle.
Cutting the cord
After giving birth to your baby, the midwife or obstetrician will have to clamp and cut the umbilical cord. The cord is quite difficult to cut, but neither your baby nor you will feel any pain.
Your childbirth partner can typically cut the umbilical cord in case that is what you and your partner desire. This is possible after a smooth vaginal birth, but it isn’t normally possible after a Caesarean section.
However, if you develop any complication or your baby needs to be taken to the warming station after birth, the obstetrician or midwife will have to clamp and cut the cord.
How your newborn will behave and look after birth
Some vital changes occur in your newborn’s body as he moves from the quiet, warm, and protected environment of your womb to the new world.
As he takes his first breaths and cries, blood and oxygen flow through his lungs as they grow bigger.
So, it is normal for your newborn to look purple or blue in the first few minutes after birth. In case your baby is breathing properly, the color of her skin will gradually change to pink within 7-12 minutes after childbirth.
Your baby’s feet and hands may stay blue for up to twenty-four hours. This is because the blood vessels within your newborn’s feet and hands are very small, and it could take some time for blood to properly circulate there and make them pink.
In case all is well, most newborns cry immediately after birth. Others quietly gaze with big open eyes at the environment surrounding them before falling asleep. However, some may stay awake and desire to feed.
In case your baby seems ready, then, by all means, breastfeed him or her within a few minutes of childbirth. The pediatrician would assist you in attaching your baby’s mouth to your breast.