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Here’s what will happen to your baby in those few minutes right after birth. Be aware that you need to tell the doctor or midwife in advance if you want anything done differently for personal or perhaps religious reasons.

After natural vaginal delivery
  • If there were no complications, your baby will be placed on your chest. The doctor would have cleaned your baby’s nose and airways with a suction device by now – this is done very quickly as your baby’s head emerges.
  • These are the precious first bonding moments when you get to see your baby for the first time. It also has the practical effect of keeping the baby warm.
  • Your baby cannot control his/her temperature very well and it is important that your baby stays warm and dry. The nursing staff will dry your baby and put a blanket over him or her.
  • Your baby’s umbilical cord will be clamped in two places.
  • Your partner can then cut the umbilical cord between the two clamps.
  • If you arranged for cord blood banking, umbilical cord blood will be drawn now.
  • You, your partner and your baby will get ID bands.

After a C-section

  • When your baby is taken out of your stomach, his or her nose and airways are cleaned with a suction device.
  • Your baby’s umbilical cord will be clamped in two places.
  • Your partner can then cut the umbilical cord between the two clamps.
  • Your baby will be handed over to a nurse who will place him or her in a radiant warmer. This will keep your baby warm and comfortable.
  • Your baby’s vital signs will be monitored and recorded.
  • If she is doing well, she will be swaddled and brought to you and your partner.
  • You will be able to interact with your baby while you are being stitched up.

The Apgar Test
The Apgar test is performed at one minute and five minutes after birth. It assesses 5 factors in a baby’s health, including:
  • heart rate (pulse)
  • breathing
  • activity and muscle tone
  • reflex
  • appearance

Each of these factors is scored from 0 to 2, for a total score that is taken out of 10.
Babies with a score of 7 or higher are usually healthy, however, if your baby has a lower score it does not mean that he or she is unhealthy. Babies with lower scores may simply need more attention after birth. It is important to remember that few babies score a perfect 10 on the Apgar test.

Other tests and procedures
  • Your baby will be weighed.
  • Your baby’s length and head circumference will be measured.
  • Your baby might get antibiotic eye drops to protect against infections.
  • Your baby might get a Vitamin K injection to avoid blood clotting.
  • A blood sample will be taken by pricking your baby’s heel for a newborn screening test .
  • Your baby will get his or her first immunisation shots.
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