What to expect during 1st 24 hours after delivery | NextMamas.
If you are pregnant with your first baby, you might be wondering what to expect after you have your baby and what changes may occur in your body during the first 24 hours after you give birth.
This page explains what to expect after a vaginal birth in a hospital. If you have a cesarean section your experience will be a little different.
First 24 hours in the birth room:
At the time of birth, your baby will likely be lifted up onto your chest for skin-to-skin contact. You will then need to deliver the placenta. Whilst you are cuddling your baby, your midwife or doctor will look at your perineum and vagina to see if you have any tears that need repairing with stitches.
Your midwife will check your baby and your pulse and blood pressure and will check for vaginal blood loss and the firmness of your fundus (the top of the uterus). They will also do a thorough check of your baby from head to toe. If your baby is healthy at birth, this doesn’t need to happen straight away.
If you choose to breastfeed your midwife can help you feed your baby.
After a normal vaginal birth, you will probably stay in the birth room with your baby for about 2 hours. You may have a meal and a shower before transferring to the postnatal ward or going home. If you are going home 4 to 6 hours after birth, you might be able to stay in the birth room until discharge.
Physical changes in the body in the first 24hrs after birth:
How you might feel after the birth varies. You might feel elated, exhausted, emotionally drained, or all of them at once. This is normal, you have just been through a big and life-changing event. You will have bleeding from the vagina — this bleeding is known as 'lochia'. For the first 24 hours, lochia is similar to a heavy period and you might also pass some lochia clots. If clots are bigger,
such as the size of a 50-cent piece, tell your midwife. You may continue losing blood from your vagina for around 4 to 6 weeks.
Some women have after-birth pains as the uterus starts to contract to its pre-pregnancy size. After-birth pains can feel like labor pains or mild to moderate period pain. If you’re having your second or third baby, they’ll probably be stronger than the after-birth pains from your first baby. A warm pack on your back or belly may help. You can also ask your doctor or midwife for pain relief.
Your perineum may be swollen in the first 24 hours after giving birth.
You can manage your physical problem with this program.
- Rest — lie down to help reduce pain and swelling.
- Ice — apply an ice pack for 20 minutes every 2 to 4 hours to reduce the swelling.
- Compression — wear firm-fitting underwear and 2 to 3 maternity pads for extra support.
- Exercise — start pelvic floor exercises as soon as you comfortably can, but certainly within the first few days.
If your perineum is painful, ask your midwife for pain relief. If you have stitches in your perineum, they will dissolve in 1 to 2 weeks. Wash the area normally in the shower and gently pat dry. Eat plenty of fiber and drink a lot of water so your stools are soft. Avoid straining on the toilet and ask for laxatives if you become constipated. Your midwife or doctor will look at your perineum regularly after birth and prior to your going home, to observe for blood loss, and bruising and to make sure there are no signs of worsening bruising or trauma to the area.
Your breasts will produce colostrum to feed your baby. Normally a small amount is produced. Remember that your baby’s tummy is just the size of a marble.
In the case of Home Birth:
If you give birth at home your midwife will stay with you for some time and then return later to check on you and your baby. Talk to your midwife before the birth about what happens after.
What if things didn’t go to plan?
Sometimes birth isn’t straightforward, and it can be difficult to plan for this.
If you have had a difficult birth and complications after birth, it’s a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider in the immediate recovery period whilst you are still in the hospital. Although, for some new parents these feelings may not arise immediately. If you are concerned or having ongoing physical or psychological issues in the weeks or months following birth, seeking help early is recommended.
Author: Dr. Iram Gill
Dr. Iram Gill is an MBBS doctor by profession and a Content Writer by passion. She is a mother as well and has observed the health-related challenges faced by mothers and babies. She wants to play her part in increasing access and support for breastfeeding and maternal health problems.