After birth, your baby’s health becomes the priority—the extra-uterine life is new for them and doctors need to make sure they are adapting well to it.
Here are the procedures that your doctors adopt to ensure your baby’s well-being immediately after their birth.
Checking Whether Your Baby Is Breathing
After the umbilical cord is cut, your baby no longer receives oxygen from the placenta. The very first procedure that the medical team follows is to clear the airways for the baby to breathe on its own.
The baby’s mouth and nose are wiped clean. The fluids are sucked out using bulb syringe, first from the mouth, then, from the nose.
If the infant is crying, it is a clear indication that the baby is breathing. That is why it is considered important for babies to cry after birth.
How Doctors Stimulate Babies To Cry
The procedure of slapping the baby’s buttocks to make him cry is no longer in practice. Instead, the doctors rub the soles of their feet or the chest area to stimulate crying and breathing.
Sometimes, the mucus causes the baby to cough, choke, or heave—this could happen for 12 to 18 hours after birth. To let out all the mucus and fluids, the nurse keeps the baby’s head lower or positions them on their sides to allow the mucus to drain out from the mouth.
Your newborn is a nose breather—they can’t breathe through their mouths for until after 3-weeks. The doctors need to make sure that their airways aren’t blocked since they haven’t yet learned to breathe through their mouth.
Your baby is given antibiotic eye drops to prevent their eyes from contracting any infections, which the mother could have passed to them during vaginal delivery. The eye drops won’t hurt or cause any harm to your baby. However, it might blur their vision briefly and alert them.
Vitamin K Shots
Our gut bacteria are responsible for synthesizing vitamin K and we also get it from food sources.
At birth, baby’s intestines don’t contain any gut bacteria. They will only start getting the vital vitamin from foods when they start eating solids, which is by 6 months of age.
Vitamin K is important because it promotes clotting of blood and, thus reduces the risk of a hemorrhage.
Babies are given vitamin K shots soon after birth to prevent any internal bleeding since they lack a sufficient amount of the essential vitamin in the body.
The Clamping Of The Umbilical Cord
After around 30 seconds of your baby’s birth, the umbilical cord is cut. A clamp is applied at an inch or half an inch above the abdomen—the area is cleaned with an antiseptic solution to prevent any infections.
The area of the cord above the clamp (stump) dries and eventually falls off on its own after 7-10 days—the remaining area will take another 10 days to heal and form a neat belly button.
Moms should be careful not to tub-bath their baby until the stump has dried and fallen. Prevent the healing area from getting wet, either from the water or the baby’s urine.
Make sure the clamp is tight and not bleeding. Your doctor may have prescribed an antiseptic solution to be applied on the stump—don’t use anything other than that to clean the area.
Keep the area dry and uncovered—it will dry faster if exposed to air. If the cord doesn’t fall after 7-10 days or you notice a foul smell, discharge or bleeding, consult the doctor immediately—it could be a sign of infection.
Calculating The Apgar Score
Apgar score is a method to check how the baby is doing after birth. It includes using several parameters to ascertain that the baby is in good health.
It assesses baby’s heart rate, respiration, muscle tone, reflex irritability and color of the skin. An Apgar score between 7 to 10 means the baby is doing alright—they are active and responsive.
If the babies heartbeat is below 100, it means he/she is asphyxiated—heart rate above 160 indicates distress.
Apart from that, other parameters like the weight, length, temperature, head circumference, and chest circumference are also measured to determine the baby’s health status.