This post is brought to you by Gwinnett Medical Center Everyday Wellness.
It all goes by in a whirlwind. After nine months, it's time to bring this little person into the world. Did you know the first hour of life is one of the most important? A lot happens that you don't realize. I'll discuss some of the things you can expect after the delivery of your baby.
Thank you to Shelia Warren, an RN and Health Navigator at Gwinnett Medical Center's Women's Pavillion for answering our questions about the first hour of life.
If you experience fetal distress during delivery, there will be a special team in your room. You can expect to have them check the baby out while still in mom's arms or within the room right after delivery. They try to have the baby back in mom's arms within 10 minutes.
Apgar Score – The first minute of life your baby will be given an Apgar score. The Apgar score is a measure of the physical condition of a newborn infant. It is obtained by adding points (2, 1, or 0) for heart rate, respiratory effort, muscle tone, response to stimulation, and skin coloration; a score of ten represents the best possible condition. They do the test again at 5 minutes as well.
Skin to Skin – Having your baby in direct, skin-to-skin contact has been proven to be extremely beneficial. A new mom can regulate the baby's body's temperature, heart rate, oxygen levels and breathing when placed on mom's chest. You may have heard the term before; it's called Kangaroo Care for babies that are born prematurely. For well babies, it is just referred to as skin-to-skin. This is also an important bonding technique as well.
In my experience, having a premature baby with a heart condition, I experienced the change in my baby when I was holding her against my chest. I would visit the hospital and just hold her for hours to my bare chest, and she never had any alarms going off. The alarms went off when she was in bed. It's amazing how skin-to-skin care like this works. I think it's so important.
Breastfeeding – During the first hour of life, your baby is also very alert. If you are planning on nursing, this is the best time to start because your baby is ready to go! You also have a team of people that just helped you during the delivery so you'll be able to make sure you're getting a proper latch. All of the labor and delivery nurses are trained to answer your nursing questions to make sure that you are successful and feel confident. To make sure you have a proper latch, the nurses will make sure the mouth is open wide around the breast and nipple. They will check to make sure there are no clicking or slurping sounds from the baby. These are signs that the latch isn't strong enough and you may need to adjust. The nurses can also show you how the baby's chin should be down. The last thing you want is to experience painful nursing. When there are only a handful of lactation consultants on staff, it is hard for them to see everyone. It is great that the staff is trained to answer some of these questions for new moms so that they can go home with the understanding.
I had trouble nursing and pumped all of my kids' meals. No matter what you decided, the nurses will be there to support you.
Remember, who you have in the delivery room matters. The birth of a child is an intimate experience and that first hour of life is very important. The focus should be on the baby and mother and nothing else. Mom shouldn't have to worry about covering up for Grandpa to come in and meet the baby. Also, hand one of the nurses your phone or camera. I'm not sure who took this photo, but I'm so glad they did. This moment was very special, and a kind nurse thought to capture it for me.
Gwinnett Medical Center offers a helpline and support group that meets on Mondays (following the Gwinnett County School systems schedule) at their Women's Pavilion. Check out some of the helpful articles from Gwinnett Medical Center's Everyday Wellness Women's Health section.