Pregnancy is an incredible time in a person’s life. Your body will be going through a huge number of changes, and it’s amazing to think that soon you will have a beautiful baby to join your family. However, many women focus on what happens to their body during pregnancy and how they’ll cope as a mother, without paying much attention to what happens directly after their baby is born. Here is a brief guide to what happens immediately after the birth to help you know what to expect.
Immediately After the Birth
As soon as your baby is born, your midwife will place the baby directly onto your bare chest to encourage skin-to-skin contact. This is hugely beneficial for the baby, and it helps to create a solid bond between parent and child.
Shortly afterwards, the umbilical cord will be clamped and cut, and it will be time for your baby’s first feed. Many women struggle with breastfeeding, especially in the first few days after birth, so don’t worry if you can’t get the hang of it straight away.
Your baby will also be cleaned, weighed and measured, and a doctor will perform a newborn check-up to make sure your baby is healthy. You’ll also be offered a vitamin K injection for your baby, which can prevent a rare but dangerous bleeding disorder.
The First 6–8 Weeks
Once you’ve been discharged from hospital, you’ll be free to go home. The first 6 to 8 weeks after the birth are usually all it takes to recover, though it can vary from woman to woman and can be different if you’ve had a C-section birth.
During the first few weeks, you’ll likely experience soreness from the birth. You can apply an icepack to your perineum and take painkillers to help with this. You’ll also likely feel pretty exhausted – birth is tiring in and of itself, but you’ll also be coping with the demands of your new baby. As a recovering mother, you should try to sleep any time your baby sleeps.
The third day after the birth is known for being the most difficult day in terms of your emotions. Your body’s hormones will be changing rapidly, and the endorphins from the birth will have started to wear off, so it’s fairly common for women to feel overwhelmed, sad and anxious. This should pass, but if it doesn’t, talk to your doctor about the possibility of postnatal depression.
When Things Go Wrong
For most women, this doesn’t even bear thinking about, but unfortunately, not every birth is free from complications. If you experience any kind of birth injury due to medical negligence, you could be owed compensation. Diane Rostron is a leading birth injury specialist who can help you and your family if you or your baby have been affected by negligent medical practice.
Life after birth is an exciting time for families. It will take some time for your body and mind to recover, but you can use your recovery time to form a bond with your newborn that will last a lifetime. Help is at hand should you need it, so don’t be afraid to reach out.