Moms usually spend so much time during their pregnancy preparing for the birth of the baby. They get their nurseries ready, buy all the proper baby gear, and are super pumped and prepared for the day that their baby will make his or her arrival. However, once a mom actually gives birth, she usually has no idea of what lies ahead. This is especially true if a woman is giving birth to her first baby. When a woman has her first child, she has no point of reference for labor, delivery, or becoming a mom in general, so the entire idea can be exceptionally overwhelming. However, most new moms find that once they do actually give birth that they are completely shocked, confused and overwhelmed at the next stage in their life. Some moms find that the period immediately after giving birth is really like an alternate universe, and it can be hard to navigate. Read on to find out what moms really do need to know about the first few hours following giving birth.
Immediately after giving birth, most new moms agree that the entire period is nothing but a blur, especially looking back on it a few days, weeks, months or even years later. Initially, most moms are only concerned with the health of their baby (you know, counting fingers and toes, is he or she breathing okay, does he or she have any hair????) and really don’t recall much that goes on in the immediate moments after birth. Most moms also probably (and for good reason!) block out much of the bodily physical type of stuff that goes on immediately after birth. For example, contractions continue for a few minutes after the baby is delivered, in order to deliver the placenta, which is usually a pretty big shock for first time moms (I mean, come on, that thing can be HUGE!). Some experts say that the placenta is around one-fifth of the size of the baby, and it can cause intense cramping when it is delivered. If a new mom tears during delivery, the doctor will take a few minutes immediately after delivery to put the stitches in place and get a new mommy all sewn up. This is another one of those things that many new moms tend to “block out”, since getting your vagina stitched back together really isn’t all that exciting! Some moms are also surprised that the baby goes away for a few minutes after giving birth. This is all normal, and the baby will be wiped off, cleaned up, weighed, measured, APGAR tests taken, etc before being returned to mommy for that all-important first face to face meeting. You might find that the doctor actually places the baby on your immediately after delivery, but usually moves him or her after a few minutes to go get cleaned up. Not to worry, this initial clean up and preparing of baby usually only takes about fifteen minutes or so.
By the time mom and baby have both been cleaned up, stitched up and “reset” for a few minutes, it’s usually time for baby to return to mom and the two of them to have a chance for a proper meeting. This is a great time for skin to skin contact, and might be the time that a new mom starts to try breastfeeding for the first time. It’s also important to note that at sometime during this time frame, a new mom will be delivered a dose of pitocin, and it is also possible that the doctor or nurse will massage the uterus externally. This can help to contract the uterus so that there is not excessive bleeding. Excessive bleeding after giving birth can be horrible for a new mom, and can cause a plethora of health problems. After this is done, your nurse will help you to get cleaned up down there, a sanitary pad put in place, and a new gown put on. You will be cleaned up and will most likely feel much, much better after this happens. Then, things will finally start to settle down, and you will be able to spend some time with your baby. By this time, it’s likely that your guests will start to leave, and it’s even possible that you might be able to have something to eat or drink! This is what you can expect in the first few hours after birth, so take these things into consideration when you are getting ready to bring your little bundle of joy into the world!