The first hours after birth.
What happens in the birth room after the birth?
How overwhelming the moment is for the new mother when she can finally receive her baby. While still in the birth room, they are allowed to make their first contacts. From the first breastfeeding to the health check – for the newborn, there are also other points on the program in the birth room.
After the baby leaves its mother’s warm, protective body, it first has to get used to the conditions outside the womb. After all, it is suddenly confronted with gravity, light, cold, hunger and thirst. Its blood circulation must change in seconds and function independently so that it can take its first breath of air. In order for the alveoli to develop properly, a few strong breaths are necessary.
An intimate connection
Before or immediately after weaning, the midwife places the baby on the mother’s chest. Covered with a previously warmed cloth, the baby feels comfortable and secure here, can hear its mother’s familiar heartbeat and feel her warmth. Now the two meet for the first time! For the parents, this is an overwhelming experience, and the woman has quickly forgotten the efforts and pain of childbirth. Together, mother and child can rest and process the birth experience. This so-called bonding, which can be translated as “making contact with the parents,” marks the beginning of the intimate parent-child relationship.
Create the perfect sleeping atmosphere for toddlers
The umbilical cord
As soon as the umbilical cord between mother and child has pulsated out, it is clamped and cut with a sterile umbilical clamp. If he likes, the father may take the scissors into his own hands for this. When the cord is cut, the midwife takes a few drops of blood from the cord and measures its PH. It provides information about how well the child was supplied with oxygen shortly before birth. If she determines from this that there was an undersupply of oxygen before and during birth, the child may need to be given special medication to compensate for the deficit.
The health check
With a trained eye, the doctor or midwife checks the general health of the baby shortly after birth: the so-called APGAR test, named after its inventor Virginia Apgar (1952). A total of three times – in the first, fifth and tenth minute of life – they award points for the baby’s breathing, heartbeat, muscle and movement functions, reflexes and skin colour. For each of these factors, the child receives 0, 1 or 2 points. The values are then added up and noted in the yellow preventive examination booklet. A value of 7 and more after one minute and 9 or 10 after five and ten minutes indicate that the baby is doing well.
After getting to know the young family for the first time, the midwife carefully examines the child again. In the first early detection examination known as U1, she checks whether facial features and body proportions are normal, checks the sutures on the head, feels the chest, stomach and spine, counts fingers and toes and looks at the genitals and the anus. She measures skull circumference, tests grasp reflexes and counts blood vessels in the umbilical cord. Now the baby also gets its name tag placed around one wrist so that it cannot be confused. Then it is measured, weighed and its umbilical cord is cut to the appropriate length. The midwife enters the height and weight in the baby pass. The father can help with bathing and getting dressed – a good opportunity for the two to get to know each other. If mother and child are well cared for, they remain in the delivery room for an hour or two for observation. In most clinics, the new parents are left undisturbed so that they can enjoy the new situation as a family.
The first drops
Most newborns can be latched to the breast within the first few hours. The midwife shows the woman in the delivery room how it is right and how best to drink. This is the best stimulus for the maternal breast to start milk production. The first drops of “colostrum” that the infant receives have a very special composition: the so-called colostrum contains more water, vitamins and minerals, but much less fat than the breast milk that follows. In addition, various proteins are dissolved in it, the immoglobins. These maternal antibodies effectively protect the baby from diseases in the first few days; its own immune system has yet to develop.
In many hospitals, mother and baby live together in one room day and night: the so-called rooming-in. It is also possible that the newborn only stays with its mother during the day and comes to the nursery at night so that the woman can sleep through the night. Through the rooming-in, the two can get to know each other in peace and thus build a solid bond early on. Under the guidance of the sisters, the mother learns everything she needs to know about caring for her protégé. Breastfeeding often works better if the two spend a lot of time at the beginning.
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