Today, I want to share five important things that happen to baby after delivery. I want to share WHY we do them to help you choose if you want to change from the standard.
First off, let me share WHY I know what happens after delivery. After being in the labor rooms since 2001 I’ve done this thousands of times, and I love teaching new moms about what happens in the delivery room — so they can make the best choices for them and their baby.
This is a supplemental post to What happens after delivery which I wrote a while ago. This post will focus just on the baby.
If you’re interested in the full picture of what happens at delivery, be sure to check out this class. It gives ALL the details!
What happens to baby after delivery?
Pro Tip: Just because this is what we USUALLY do, doesn’t mean you HAVE to have it happen. You can either just talk with your providers, or create a birth plan:
Please keep in mind that we do have a routine for patients who have no idea what they want (which, frankly –is most people) — but you can have as much or little input in this as you’d like. I have a whole podcast on saying no!
Ok, we’re going to start after the cord is clamped. And yes, it is common practice to now delay cord clamping.
#1: The Baby Gets Dried Off
At delivery, you will have a nurse for you, and the baby has a nurse.
Fun fact, the doctor is actually not certified to help baby at all at delivery. Besides pulling the baby out, it then goes to the nurses who are trained to assist the baby in transitioning to breathing air.
As we put the baby on your chest (skin to skin is the norm — but if you’d prefer not to, that’s fine too!), the nurse will dry-off the baby. One of the hardest things for babies to do after coming out is to maintain their temperature. Since they are wet, we want to make sure we dry them off to help them get warm.
We will also remove the wet linens and replace them with dry ones.
If you’d prefer to leave any vernix on the baby — that’s fine, this drying off is just getting the amniotic fluid off of them.
#2 The Baby RN does a quick assessment of the baby
At the same time she is drying the baby off, she is making sure that it is breathing well, doesn’t seem to be in distress and is “pinking-up” like we like to see. Most of this is done hands-off and you can still do skin to skin.
This RN is trained in NRP — neonatal resuscitation. If, for any reason, the baby isn’t transitioning to breathing air, we will likely take the baby over to the warmer to help it out. Most babies can stay skin to skin though.
As an FYI, as an L&D RN I am required to be trained in both taking care of the mom AND baby. That means I am ACLS, NRP and AWHONN fetal monitoring certified. Which, means a lot of classes every couple of years.
#3 The Baby Stays with You
Because we are strong believers in skin to skin (and here’s why):
- It helps baby stabilize their breathing by being by you and hearing your heartbeat/voice
- Your warmth helps warm up the baby
- It allows you to breastfeed early on if you’re ready
- It helps MOM stabilize (sometimes moms gets anxious, and often when we give you the baby it helps you out too)
BUT, if for any reason it’s just “too much” (this often happens with moms who have a lot of stitches or if the doctor is having a hard time getting the placenta out) — feel free to ask to have us take the baby to the warmer. OR, Dad can do skin to skin too.
Honestly, what’s most important is that you are comfortable — so be sure to let your nurses know what you’d prefer.
#4 That RN will do a set of vital signs
In the first half-hour of life, or so, we just like to listen to the baby’s heart, lungs and check their temperature. We will do vital signs frequently in those first few hours, just to make sure that he/she is transitioning to air-breathing well.
Again, all of that can be done skin to skin (we may have to adjust baby a bit to make that happen).
#5 The RN will do a more complete assessment
While we do a quick one at birth, the RN is going to want to do a more full assessment of the baby off your chest. It’s often done at the same time we weigh the baby.
At that point, we are just making sure that the baby has all the proper parts and isn’t missing anything. Another fun fact is that baby won’t see a doctor for a few hours (depending on when they come-in for rounds), so it’s important that the nurse get a quick view of the whole baby to make sure there isn’t anything we’d need to call them for sooner.
Now, this is just five things that go on. Plenty more is going on behind the scenes, and more happens like:
- Possibly blood sugars
- Breast or bottle feeding (depending on your preference)
So, what did you love MOST about when your baby came-out? I’d love it if you’d share it in the comments. It is truly a magical time, and I feel privileged to be able to help families during it.
Be sure to grab my hospital packing list, and check out my other pregnancy posts below that.