Skip to content
Pregnancy & birth
The hard part’s over – you’ve given birth to your beautiful baby. So now what? We guide you through the first 12 hours of your new life.
When we imagine the long-awaited birth of our babies, few of us give much thought to what happens after the pain’s over and we get our see our babies for the first time. Exactly what happens next will depend on what kind of birth you’ve had, how you’re feeling and your hospital policies, but read on for a rough guide to what to expect.
1-2 hoursAs long as your baby’s okay, you’ll get your first cuddle straightway. ‘I had an overwhelming sensation of relief,’ recalls Sally Dunn, mum to Jack, three months. ‘I’d done it – I’d delivered my baby safely,’If you’re breastfeeding, it’s ideal if you can get started within an hour of the birth, but don’t worry if it doesn’t go brilliantly at first. ‘It’s common for newborns just to snuffle around for a while,’ says midwife Melanie Every of the Royal College of Midwives. “What’s most important is skin to skin contact.’If you tear or have an episiotomy during the birth, you’ll be stitched up as soon as possible. ‘The sooner it’s mended, the sooner you’ll start to heal,’ says Melanie. ‘You can use gas and air while you’re being stitched, but if you’ve had an epidural, it’ll be left in until your wound has been repaired.’
3 hoursAfter such a messy, sweaty ordeal, you’ll need a shower or bath. You may experience quite a bit of blood loss when you get up, so if you feel a bit wobbly, tell your midwife. Some women relish having a good scrub, others find their post-birth wash a bit yucky, but one thing’s for sure – you’ll feel a whole lot better afterwards.
4 hoursAfter washing, you’ll probably need something to eat, even if it’s just tea and toast. ‘It was the best toast I’d ever had!’ laughs Carole Norman, mum to Daisy, eight weeks.Some women are ravenous after labour, but not all. ‘You might feel nauseous, and may even vomit,’ says Melanie. But do try to eat something if you can – the hospital needs to see that you’ve kept some food and fluids down before you’re allowed home.
5 hoursIt can take a while to regain the sensation in your nether regions but, at some point, you’ll have your first post-birth pee. ‘It stung like hell, but it soon got easier,’ says Sorcha Connell, mum to Fergus, four months.‘You’ll need to pass urine before you go home,’ says Melanie. ‘You won’t necessarily have a bowel movement straightaway, but if you haven’t been within 48 hours, tell your midwife.’Kathryn Maclay’s midwife advised her to try and wee in her post-birth bath: ‘I was a bit grossed out by the idea,’ says Kathryn, ‘but actually it was a very painless way of doing it and I showered off afterwards.’
6 hoursUnless you’re being discharged at a super-speedy rate, you’ll have been moved to the postnatal ward by now. And even if you’re feeling fit as a fiddle, you’ll be taken in a wheelchair. ‘I can remember other mums looking at my baby as we went through the ward,’ says Julia Davidson, mum to Reuben, six months. ‘I was bursting with pride.’
7 hoursPostnatal wards are often very busy, which can be a shock after having one-to-one care in the delivery suite. ‘If you look like you’re coping, you’ll probably be left to get on with it,’ Melanie agrees. ‘But if you need any help, don’t be afraid to ask.’
8 hoursBetween four and 48 hours after delivery, your baby will have his newborn checks, usually by a paediatrician. ‘She’ll listen to his heart, check his hips (and testes in a boy), and make sure he’s passed wee and poo – it’s a head-to-toe MOT,’ says Melanie.
9 hoursReceiving visitors is a highlight of your first day as a mum. ‘I’ll never forget introducing my mum to her grandson,’ says Isabel Rossi, mum to Paulo, seven months. ‘We were both in tears.’ Savour the moment – who could blame you for wanting to show off the fruits of your, ahem, labour?
10 hoursAll newborns are routinely screened for hearing defects, often before leaving hospital. Don’t be surprised if you feel anxious while it’s being done – anxiety is part and parcel of being a mum! The test only takes a few minutes and can even be done when your baby’s asleep. It isn’t always 100 per cent accurate for newborn, though, so if it’s inconclusive, it’ll be repeated at a later date.
11 hoursOnce the euphoria wears off, tiredness and pain may sink in. ‘You should be given painkillers soon after the birth,’ says Melanie. ‘There’s a wide range of drugs on offer, depending on your level of pain.’ So don’t suffer in silence, if you’re hurting, tell the midwife.
12 hoursIf you had an uncomplicated birth, you’re likely to be sent home the same day. It’s common to feel a mixture of emotions – relief, elation, exhaustion and terror! But you’re not alone. ‘A midwife will visit you at home the next day,’ says Melanie. ‘You’ll also be given a phone number for emergencies.’ And, scary though it may seem, nothing beats crossing the threshold of your own home as a family for the first time.
‘Help, I’m a Fembot!’Weird (and not so wonderful) things that may happen to your body after giving birth• You might sweat like a racehorse. ‘I soaked my sheets every night for the first few days after birth,’ says Anna Forester. This is your body’s way of getting rid of all the extra fluids it’s built up, but you may want to sleep on a towel.• You’ll bleed. A lot. Forget normal sanitary pads, you need the heavy duty, mattress sized maternity or night time ones. Using normal cotton knickers (not your best Agent Provocateurs), rather than paper ones, will make you feel slightly more human. The bleeding usually tails off by six weeks, but can go on longer – check with your midwife.• You may still look six months pregnant (and feel as though you’re about to give birth again) ‘I wasn’t prepared for the afterpains I experienced when I was lying in the bath after Max’s birth,’ says Julie Chan. ‘They felt like contractions all over again - I was convinced Max’s twin was in my (still huge) tummy and I’d have to go through it all again!’• Your boobs may explode. You probably thought your boobs had grown to maximum capacity during pregnancy but just wait until your milk comes in (usually about three days after birth). If they’re agonisingly tender and swollen, try cold cabbage leaves in your bra and feed, feed, feed through the pain. Be prepared for milk shooting out of your nipples like machine gun fire, too.
Send a story, photo or video relating to this
Upload stories, photos or videos direct to the site .
There are currently no comments
Add your comment
You must be signed in to submit a comment.
12 hours after birth
By submitting your comment, you agree to adhere to the askamum
Terms and conditions
You must be logged in to subscribe to a topic
Login or register now
Advertise with us |
Link to us |
Site map |
Mother & Baby magazine subscription |
Magazine subscriptions |
© Copyright 2013 askamum, Bauer Consumer Media - All rights reserved.
Other Sites By Bauer Media | Grazia | Closer Online | Closer Diets | Askamum | heatworld