Care of the Newborn baby
Care of the Baby in the Delivery Room
The birth of a baby is one of life’s most wondrous moments. Newborn babies have amazing abilities, yet they are completely dependent on others for feeding, warmth, and comfort.As the baby takes its first breath, air moves into the lungs. Before birth, the lungs are not used to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide and need less blood supply. The fetal circulation sends most of the blood supply away from the lungs through special connections in the heart and the large blood vessels. When a baby begins to breathe air at birth, the change in pressure in the lungs helps close the fetal connections and redirect the blood flow.
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Care for the newborn after a vaginal delivery
Healthy babies born in a vaginal delivery are usually able to stay with the mother. In many hospitals, immediate newborn assessments including weight, length, and medications, and even the first bath are performed right in the mother’s room. As quickly as possible, a new baby is placed in the mother’s arms.
In the first hour or two after birth, most babies are in an alert, wide awake phase. This offers a wonderful opportunity for parents to get to know their new baby. A baby will often turn to the familiar sound of the mother’s voice. A baby’s focus of vision is best at about 8 to 12 inches–just the distance from the baby cradled in a mother’s arms to her face.
This first hour or two after birth is also the best time to begin breastfeeding. Babies have an innate ability to begin nursing immediately after they are born. Although some medications and anesthesia given to the mother during labor and delivery may affect the baby’s sucking ability, most healthy babies are able to breastfeed in these first few hours. This initial feeding helps stimulate breast milk production. It also causes contraction of the mother’s uterus which can help prevent excessive bleeding.
Care for the newborn after a cesarean delivery
If your baby is born by a cesarean delivery, chances are good that you can be awake for the surgery. Only in rare situations will a mother require general anesthesia for delivery, meaning she is not conscious for the birth. Most cesarean deliveries today are done with a regional anesthesia such as an epidural or spinal. With this type of anesthesia, only part of the body is numbed for surgery. The mother is awake and able to hear and see her baby as soon as he or she is born.
Babies born by cesarean are usually checked by a nursery nurse or pediatrician right after delivery. This is often done right near you in the operating room. Because babies born by cesarean may have difficulty clearing some of the lung fluid and mucus, extra suctioning of the nose, mouth, and throat are often needed. Occasionally, deeper suctioning in the windpipe is required.
Once a baby is checked over, a nurse will wrap the baby warmly and bring the baby to you to see and touch. Many hospitals require babies born by cesarean to be watched in the nursery for a short time. All the usual procedures such as weighing and medications are performed there. Usually, your baby can be brought to you while you are in the recovery area after surgery.
Many mothers think that they will not be able to breastfeed after a cesarean. This is not true. Breastfeeding can begin in the first hours right in the recovery room, just as with a vaginal delivery.
Plan to have someone stay with you during your hospital stay after a cesarean delivery. You will have quite a bit of pain in the first few days and will need help with the baby.
Source: Stanford children