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Right After Delivery

Although you'll want to see your newborn baby right away, the doctor needs to do a few things first. As soon as your baby is born, medical staff remove mucus from baby's nose and mouth. Newborns often cry for a few seconds after they're born. The doctor holds the baby and clamps the umbilical cord then cuts the cord.

Then baby will probably be put on your chest or in your arms so you can be close. If you're too tired to hold baby, baby will be placed on a warm table nearby.

The doctor or nurse will dry baby with warm, soft towels. The doctor will look for healthy breathing and good color and listen to baby's heartbeat.

Checking your baby

One minute after birth, baby will be given a special Apgar test. The score tells if baby's breathing, skin color, pulse, and muscle tone are okay. It helps the doctors know if they should watch baby more closely for a while. After five minutes, the doctor gives baby a second Apgar test.

Matching ID bands or bracelets go on your wrist and baby's wrist or ankle. They show your name, your patient number, baby's sex, and the date and time of birth. Many hospitals also take baby's fingerprints and footprints.

Next your baby will be weighed and measured. Then the doctor will give baby another quick exam. In the first hour or two after birth, newborns have drops or cream put in their eyes to protect them from infection. Babies also get a vitamin K shot to prevent bleeding, along with a vaccine to prevent hepatitis B.

Time with your newborn

You and your partner will probably be able to hug and cuddle your baby right after birth. If breastfeeding, mothers should nurse their babies right away. The first milk you have is called colostrum and is very good for baby.

While you're busy with baby, the doctor will stitch the cut if you had and epistiomy. An epistiomy is a small cut that is sometimes made in the opening of the birth canal when the baby is coming out.

After the delivery room

During the next 6 to 12 hours, the nurses will continue to watch your baby closely. They'll write down the times when baby first urinates and has a bowel movement. They will also press on your belly to feel your uterus. This might hurt, but they want to make sure your uterus is getting back to normal.

In most hospitals, baby stays in the same room with the mother. Some hospitals keep baby in the nursery with all the other newborns. Sometimes baby stays with the mother during the day and sleeps in the nursery at night. If you'd like your baby to sleep in your room, tell the nurse. If parents want their baby boy to be circumcised this can be done in the hospital before going home.

Many hospitals offer classes that teach you how to take care of your new baby. Ask about these classes. They are important, because soon you will begin life together as a new family. You'll want to know how to take good care of your baby.

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