Newborn care in the delivery room

The magical moment when you get to see your baby for the first time has arrived. But new mothers may wonder: what will happen now? There are tests and examinations that are part of the newborn care at birth routine. But first of all, those magical moments with your new baby for the first time are priceless. You should be able to have a skin-to-skin contact with the infant right after delivery. Practice varies from hospital to hospital, so be sure to talk to your doctor about it.

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Newborn care at birth: APGAR test

You may have heard of the APGAR test from other mums. This is the initial evaluation of the newborn. It shows how well the baby coped during delivery, and if it needs any medical attention. The baby’s skin colour, heart beat, reflexes, breathing patterns and muscle tone will be evaluated by doctors. The score range is from 1 to 10. If the score is lower than 7, the newborn may require medical intervention.

Newborn care at birth: measurements

The newborn will also be measured after birth to determine weight and height. Some hospitals to do these tests right away, but you can discuss delaying them to have some time with your baby. Your baby will lose some of the initial weight in the first week or so, but that is normal.

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Newborn care at birth: blood tests

The newborn will also be tested for illnesses. Blood will be taken from the baby’s foot. The PKU screening is done to see if the baby is able to process a certain amino acid that he gets from milk. If not, there is a risk of brain damage. Some hospitals perform the test right away, but specialists recommend to do it 24 to 48 hrs after birth – when baby was fed enough milk. The baby could also be tested for infection if there is any concern in that sense. Also, some hospitals do a routine blood sugar test.

Newborn care at birth: injections

Many hospitals do a Hepatitis B vaccine as part of the newborn care routine. Some doctors say that doing a vaccine so early on can trigger adverse reactions. In low risk areas, talk to your doctor to have the vaccine done later on. Always ask about the risks involved and other options when necessary.

A vitamin K injection is also a routine procedure in many hospitals. It is given to aid blood clotting and prevent haemorrhage, especially if forceps or suction was used to aid delivery. However, if you had an uncomplicated labour and delivery ask your doctor if this is necessary. Some specialists also say that an oral dose of vitamin K is less risky than an injection.

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Newborn care at birth: other procedures

Your baby could also receives a bath while in the hospital. Try to delay this, as the vernix coating protects the baby from skin problems. An eye ointment can also be given to prevent infection if the mother has an STD. If you have been tested beforehand, the procedure is not necessary. Always ask your doctor about each and every medical procedure your newborn will go through. Also, a birth plan that includes which procedure you want to opt for your baby is ideal.