During your pregnancy you will be focused, quite naturally, on your growing baby, and as you reach your last trimester daily thoughts about the birth will be on your mind. It is a good idea to know what is expected during labour, and also to learn what will happen immediately after birth to you and your baby.
Skin-to-skin contact with your baby
Skin-to-skin contact really helps with bonding. It’s a good idea to have your baby lifted onto you as soon as they are born and before the cord is cut, so that you can be close to each other straight away.
Cord clamping and vernix
The cord is clamped and cut, and your baby is dried to stop them getting cold. You’ll be able to hold and cuddle your baby.
Sometimes yours baby may be quite messy, with some of your blood on their skin and perhaps vernix (the greasy white substance that protects your baby’s skin in the womb). You can ask the midwife to wipe your baby and wrap them in a blanket before your first cuddle.
There maybe a need sometimes to remove mucus from your baby’s nose and mouth. Some babies need a bit of help to get their breathing established. Don’t worry if your baby may be taken to another part of the room to have some oxygen. They will brought back to you as soon as possible.
If you are having a hospital birth your baby will be examined by a midwife or paediatrician, then weighed and possibly measured, and given a unique ID band with your name on.
Vitamin K for newborn babies
You’ll be offered an injection of vitamin K for your baby. This helps to prevent a rare bleeding disorder called haemorrhagic disease of the newborn. Your midwife should have discussed the injection with you while you were pregnant.
If you prefer your baby not to have an injection, they can have vitamin K by mouth instead, but they will need further doses.
Stitches for tears or cuts
Small tears and grazes are often left without stitches, because they usually heal better this way. If you need stitches or other treatments, you should be able to carry on cuddling your baby.
If you have had a large tear or an episiotomy, you will probably need stitches. If you have already had an epidural, it can be topped up. If you haven’t, you should be offered a local anaesthetic.
Your midwife or maternity support worker will help you wash and freshen up before you go to the postnatal ward.
Preventing bleeding after the birth
Postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) is a rare complication where you bleed heavily from the vagina after your baby’s birth.
There are two types of PPH, depending on when the bleeding takes place:
primary or immediate – bleeding that happens within 24 hours of birth
secondary or delayed – bleeding that happens after the first 24 hours and up to six weeks after the birth
Sometimes PPH happens because your womb doesn’t contract strongly enough after the birth. It can also happen because part of the placenta has been left in your womb or you get an infection in the lining of the womb (endometritis).
To help prevent PPH, you will be offered an injection of oxytocin as your baby is being born. This stimulates contractions and helps to push the placenta out.
Amina is a qualified midwife who has worked in hospital, community and home-birth settings in the NHS, private and charity sector as a midwife. Whilst she loves all aspects of midwifery care, her passion is in antenatal education and care.
Vaccinations offered in pregnancy You will be offered a range of vaccines (immunisations) during your pregnancy by your midwife or GP to help protect you from certain infections or to help keep your baby safe from infection during the first few weeks of their life...
If you are reading this, then you are either thinking ahead or now past your due date and feeling a whole range of emotions! If it’s any consolation you are not alone – only about 5% of babies arrive on their due date so it's not unusual to go past your due date, and...
Congratulations – you have made it to 40 weeks and that estimated due date you were given probably right at the beginning of your pregnancy. As you are well aware by now though this doesn’t mean baby will definitely appear this week – the estimation is just that, and...
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.