Several things will happen soon after your baby is born. First, the baby's mouth and throat are suctioned to clear out any mucus. Then the doctor clamps and cuts the umbilical cord. The baby is wrapped in clean blankets and may be placed on your abdomen. At 1 minute and 5 minutes after birth, Apgar scores are recorded to evaluate the baby's response to birth and to life on its own. An ID band is placed on the baby's wrist. Usually a brief physical or an assessment is done right after delivery. The baby receives eye drops to prevent infection and is given a vitamin-K shot to prevent bleeding.
You will be asked if you want your baby to receive the hepatitis vaccine. You may want to discuss this with your doctor or your pediatrician. The vaccine is given to protect the baby against hepatitis in the future.
Once the initial evaluation is complete, the baby is returned to you.
Your husband may have told you he wants to cut the umbilical cord after the baby is delivered. Talk to your doctor about your husband's participation in the delivery. What he is allowed to do varies from place to place and from doctor to doctor.
Bleeding after Birth
Following the birth, the uterus shrinks from the size of a watermelon to the size of a volleyball. The uterus contracts and becomes smaller so it won't bleed.
You can expect to bleed after you deliver, but heavy bleeding is not very common. Bleeding is controlled by massaging the uterus (called Crede) and medications; it lessens gradually over time, then stops.
Heavy bleeding after the baby is born can be serious. A loss of more than 17 ounces (500ml) in the first 24 hours after your baby's birth is called postpartum hemorrhage.
The most common causes of heavy bleeding include:
|a uterus that won't contract|
|tearing of the vagina or cervix during birth|
|a large or bleeding episiotomy|
|a tear, rupture or hole in the uterus|
|failure of blood vessels inside the uterus to compress|
|retained placental tissue|
|clotting or coagulation problems|
If bleeding becomes heavy after a few days or weeks, contact your doctor. Sometimes the bleeding is normal, but it is best to talk to your doctor about it. He or she may want to see you to determine if the amount of bleeding is normal and, if necessary, to prescribe medication.
Cord blood—blood saved from the umbilical cord—may be "banked" and saved for future use. Umbilical-cord blood can be used to treat cancer and genetic diseases that are now treated by bone-marrow transplants. Cord blood has been used successfully to treat childhood leukemia, some immune diseases and other blood diseases.
Blood is collected directly from the umbilical cord immediately after delivery. It is transported to a bank facility to be frozen and stored. This procedure poses no risk to the mother or baby.
Whether to bank your baby's cord blood is a decision for you and your partner to make. It is expensive and may not be for everyone. If you are interested, your doctor can tell you more. Or you may ask (or you may be asked) to donate the umbilical-cord blood for others to use.