The first 6 weeks after delivery are the most sensitive ones for both the mother and the baby. While the mother’s body is still recovering and preparing to care for the newborn, the baby is getting used to the new environment that he or she is in. This is why postnatal care right after delivery determines the well-being of the baby and the mother in the long run.
The most important concern in the first 24 hours is if the mother has developed any health conditions that require attention. Childbirth is also a very deeply emotional experience that needs to be addressed like the physical aspects of delivery. Postnatal care immediately after the child is born should include the following steps:
Based on the results of the tests, the health of the mother is assessed. Hemorrhage, infections and blood clots are the most serious conditions after childbirth which will be determined through these tests. In case of a C-section, additional monitoring is required because of the sutures and the higher risk of infections. For women with no health issues, in case of normal delivery, they may even be discharged within the first 24 hours.
Usually, in the first 24 hours, a Vitamin K injection is given to the baby to prevent rare disorders related to the blood. They may even offer this in a liquid form. The baby is checked for any chances of jaundice which is quite common after birth. Necessary care will be provided if the baby has any signs and symptoms of jaundice.
The meconium of the first stool of the baby is also monitored. If the baby does not pass it in the first 24 hours, the health of the baby is assessed to rule out any possible issues. In case there are no health issues, the baby is also given a BCG vaccine.
The mother and the baby should not be separated for the first 24 hours unless there is any health-related issue. Mothers are encouraged to maintain skin to skin contact with the baby. This is very useful in helping your baby latch on when you breastfeed.
Breastfeeding should start within the first hour of the child being born. This helps stimulate the digestion process in the baby. Babies are very susceptible to infections. The colostrum or the first milk produced by the mother’s body can help protect the baby from these infections by stimulating the immune system. The earlier the mother feeds the baby, the easier it is to get the baby to latch on, preventing any suckling issues.
In case of a C-section, breast feeding is still encouraged immediately after the mother is back to her hospital room. However, you will be given additional support by the hospital staff as the medication and the epidural may affect the feeding behavior of your baby.
The first 6 weeks are very important for you and your baby. Here are some tips on what you can due to continue your postnatal care and stay healthy through this period:
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