In past posts, we’ve written quite a bit of content related to what the prenatal experience entails. From de-stressing techniques like yoga to what kinds of food you need to avoid (and which ones to chow down on) while you are pregnant, we hopefully have provided you with a good amount of information which you’ve been able to find helpful. Today’s post is going to depart from that trend just a bit, as we will take a look at what you can expect to occur in the minutes, hours, and days after you’ve given birth to your little angel.
With all of the attention on the pregnancy and the actual birth itself, it’s not uncommon for mothers and fathers to consider the following days as something of an afterthought, at least relatively speaking. Most mothers and fathers we work with are fully invested in the entire process, but at the same time, there is only so much you can focus on at one time. So you might have attempted to absorb some of the following information at one point or another, but we can’t really blame you if not all of it took, so to speak.
That being said, read on if you would like some practical reading on what happens following birth.
Directly After Birth
Let’s talk about the most important thing, and that is what is going on with your baby. If everything goes to plan, meaning your baby is in good health, your baby will be immediately handed over to you. This is the golden moment, what you’ve been waiting for months, and perhaps your whole life. But while this unbelievable precious moment is going on, a few other things are likely occurring – things you might not even be aware are happening!
Shortly after your newborn is delivered, the placenta isn’t far behind. Typically this happens within the next 20 or 30 minutes after birth. If necessary, your perineum will need to be stitched up to seal up your undercarriage.
All of those happenings will pale in comparison to beholding your very own child. You should be able to hold your child even before they cut the cord. This skin-to-skin contact is very helpful with the initial bonding experience. Not only that, but it connects them to the only thing they’ve ever known outside themselves, you. It keeps them more calm and warm, and even steadies their breathing. If both of you are up for it, this can be a great time for your very first breastfeeding. This is a place where your midwife can come in, aiding in both attachment and positioning. It can be a tricky experience at first, and no two kiddos are alike. So keep that in mind if you are getting frustrated. You aren’t doing anything wrong, sometimes newborns are fickle and need a little help to get the suckling started.
Skin-to-skin contact should be done early and often, so feel free to do it any time. It’s your baby, for crying out loud. Over the first several days and weeks, it will continue to provide a sense of calm to your little one, and that is a sufficient reason alone.
Most of our readers already know this, but for the sake of being thorough, let’s talk about colostrum, your very first milk. The first fluid that you make for your newborn is different than what you will make after the following days. It’s usually a golden, yellowish color, and is highly nutritious. Given its concentrated nature, your baby won’t need more than around a teaspoon each time you feed. When you feed for the very first time after delivery, you’ll release oxytocin in your own body. That helps with the process of releasing the placenta and contracting the uterus. It’s amazing how the body takes care of itself in that way!
Speaking of feeding, you should know that your baby will want and need to feed quite frequently at first, maybe even as much as once an hour. As the days go on, they’ll be able to drink more milk and will need to have fewer feedings each day. That is good news for both of you, as you and the little one will be able to sleep for more than an hour or two at a time (hey, we can dream, right?).
Back To The Delivery Room
Let’s get back to directly after delivery. After your first feeding and the oxytocin has been released, you’ll likely get a sleepy feeling coming on in a hurry. But before you can nap, you’ll likely get a massage by either a certified midwife, your WHNP, or your nurse. This belly massage is not for your own comfort, although we would warrant that you deserve it. This massaging of the fundus is actually meant to make sure that your uterus has successfully clamped down to help diminish the bleeding and fragment any blood clots that remain.
Most people don’t talk about afterpains as part their birthing story. If they talk about pain, it’s going to be about contractions more often than not. But after pains, let us tell you, are very real. If severe, they can sometimes be comparable to the contractions themselves. But what is happening? First of all, any painkillers you might have taken have started to wear off. Secondly, the actual sensation is your uterus contracting down. This too is typically caused by your first nursing session. Unfortunately, they can last a few days after the birth, which is no fun at all. By the end of the third day, they should be completely gone.
Other Little-Known Facts
We will leave you with a couple of quick-fire facts that many mothers experience after the birthing process.
- Most women get the shakes directly after birth. Even if you don’t, you still may feel extremely jittery. Think of it like getting off of your first roller coaster, maybe times 1000, because this ride happened inside of you! Dr. Michele Hakakha, M.D., FACOG, who is an OBGYN in California, says that “Most women will experience full-body shaking after delivery…the shakes occur from the immediate hormonal shifts that occur after delivery.” Not to worry, though, because they will usually go away in a few minutes, and at most a few hours.
- The Intensity of childbirth does not immediately go away, emotionally or physically. Emotionally, this makes sense. But physically speaking, you’ll possibly be sweating for the next few weeks. Dr. Hakakha says this sweating can be extremely intense, especially at night. This is due to your body’s estrogen level crashing dramatically, and your body temperature fluctuating so severely is an unfortunate byproduct of that. Don’t be alarmed, however, because this is normal, even if it takes a couple of months to fully get back to your regular life.
We hope that you’ve enjoyed this initial look into what happens directly after childbirth. With so much emphasis on the birth itself, who can blame you if this is something of an afterthought. Remember that you are capable, and you have support. Our team at Deanna D. Midwifery would love to be part of that support, should you so choose.
The Tri-Cities Top Rated Local WHNP
Deanna D. Midwifery is committed to finding the correct path for each and every expectant mother we work with. Deanna DiUlio and the rest of our team provides experienced midwifery services to Kennewick, Pasco, Richland, and the rest of the surrounding region. We have an emphasis in childbirth and prenatal care, with midwifery services that extend for women from adolescence through menopause. If you are looking for a local prenatal clinic that seeks to understand what you are looking for in a midwife and WHNP, we believe we are a great candidate. Reach out to us today to learn more.