Labor and Delivery - Right After the Birth
You may feel excited,
tired, and amazed all at the same time after delivery. You may feel a great
sense of calm, peace, and relief as you hold, look at, and talk to your baby.
During the first hour after the birth, you can also expect to start breast-feeding, if you plan to breast-feed.
If you breast-feed,
don't be surprised if you and your baby have some trouble doing it at first.
Breast-feeding is a learned technique, so you will get better at it with practice.
You may have a breast-feeding specialist (lactation consultant) in the hospital to help you get started.
For helpful information
about getting a good start with breast-feeding and preventing problems,
- Breast-Feeding: Planning Ahead.
Your first hours of recovery
You may have
shaking chills right after delivery. This is a common reaction in the hours
after delivery. A warm blanket may help you feel more comfortable.
During the first hours after the birth, your health professional or a
- Massage your uterus by rubbing your lower abdomen about every
15 minutes. Later, you will be taught to massage your own uterus. This helps it
tighten (contract) and stop bleeding.
- Check your bladder to make
sure it isn't full. A full bladder puts pressure on your uterus, which
interferes with contractions. You will be asked to try to urinate, which may be
hard because of pain and swelling. If you can't urinate, a tube (catheter) can be used to empty your bladder.
- Check your blood
- Repair the area between your vagina and anus (perineum) if it tore or if you had an incision (episiotomy).
- Remove the small tube in your
back if you had
epidural anesthesia. If you plan to have a
tubal ligation surgery to prevent future pregnancy,
the catheter will be left in.
You may also have:
- Certain immunizations:
- Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap). If you need a booster for these immunizations, you may get it soon after you have your baby, before you go home from the hospital.
- Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR). If you are not immune to rubella or measles, your doctor may recommend that you have the MMR vaccine after childbirth.
- An Rh immunoglobulin shot (such as RhoGAM). If you have Rh-negative blood, you may get a shot of Rh immunoglobulin after delivery if your newborn is Rh-positive. For more information see the topic Rh Sensitization During Pregnancy.