We talk a lot about labor and birth with a midwife out of hospital, but what does your care look like after birth? Delivering with a midwife can leave you with a lovely, peaceful and calm first few hours after birth. In fact I personally find that this small window of time after baby is born is one the best parts of midwifery care! So lets walk through what those next few hours usually look like in a normal delivery.
My Baby is Born, Now What?
Baby will be brought right up to your chest after delivery and your midwives will evaluate baby from there. It’s big job being born so we always check baby’s breathing, color, heart rate and ensure they stay warm. If for some reason baby does need a little extra care that is also performed on moms chest as much as possible. Most babies however don’t need any extra assistance so you just get to snuggle and kiss your newborn all you want!
What About the Placenta?
Once your baby is here your placenta also needs to be delivered! This usually takes about 15 minutes but could take up to an hour. You may birth your placenta where you birthed your baby (i.e. tub, shower, ect.) or we may help you move back into your bed. This will depend on your preference, length of time before placenta is born, baby’s stability and how much you are bleeding.
When Does the Cord get Cut?
Our most common practice is to not cut the cord until the placenta has been delivered. We sometimes will cut it earlier if it is no longer pulsing (not providing any blood to baby) and you want too. Theres no hard fast rule on this and we are not in a rush! Some parents desire the cord stay attach for several hours after the placenta is born and thats fine too!
Placenta is Out and Cord is Cut. What else is there?
Once your placenta has been born your midwives will continue to monitor you and baby to ensure you are both recovering normally! Babies are usually ready to nurse at this point and we encourage you to do so. If you need a little help with this one of your midwives will be happy to work with you and baby. We make sure you are comfy in bed, that you have clean pads below you, are warm enough, have water/gatorade, ect. Vitals for both of you will be monitored intermittently. We do our best to perform these tasks quietly and efficiently so that we do not disturb your bonding time.
The best part of this to me is as soon as possible, meaning you and baby are both happy and stable. We give you alone time! Lights are dimmed so your baby can open his eyes and look at you. We are just down the hall should either of you need anything and will continue to come in and check on you frequently to be sure you are both doing well. This gives you time to just enjoy the newest member of your family.
Usually at about 2 hours after birth you are starting to feel hungry! This is good cause we have a nice hot meal ready for you! We make you and your birthing team either a warm and cheesy turkey panini or a delicious breakfast skillet! While you eat your meal we can do babies newborn exam. This is always fun to see how much your little one weighs! We do a head to toe physical exam of baby and can give vitamin k and erythromycin if desired.
As long as you and baby have been good with no complications you are welcome to go home at 3 hours postpartum. You are more than welcome to stay longer if you’d like however!
While this is the normal flow after a birth there are always exceptions. Providing safe care that responds to situations appropriately and in a timely matter is of the up most importance to us. If you or baby need additional care or stabilization we will respond to that need immediately. This could mean helping baby breath, managing a hemorrhage or even transporting to a hospital if necessary. While the vast majority of complications that occur we can handle safely out of hospital if transportation does become necessary we will work to make it as timely and smooth as possible.
Even if minor complications that are handled by us do occur. We will still do our best to give you a calm and peaceful time here that you will look back on with fond memories.
What was your immediate postpartum experience like after a birth center or home birth?