20 Unexpected Things That Happen In The First 12 Hours After Birth

There are certain moments in life people will never forget. Big life events that will forever be imprinted on the memory. One of those days is the day a woman finds out she is0 pregnant, the day she sees those two pink lines on the test. She knows in this instant that her life is about to change in the biggest way possible.

As big as moments like this are, nothing can prepare a woman for when she has her baby. That moment when she sees her little one for the first time. Childbirth is no laughing matter, and it is a thing that a lot of  women worry about, especially if this is their first child. Through their pregnancy they are so focused on how their labour will go that they forget about what comes next.

They don’t even realize the magnitude of what the situation will be. That moment when they have their baby and the next 12 hours after that. If they are a first-time mom, they have no idea what to expect. Even if they have had children before, things change so quickly that processes could be different.

I recently gave birth, and things had definitely changed since I had my daughter two and a half years ago. This article is going to take mom through the first 12-hours following birth and let moms know everything that will happen.

20 You Meet Your Baby

The first thing that will happen immediately following birth is that you will get to meet your baby. This is one of the greatest moments of life, and it also comes with the biggest relief. Childbirth is hard, even with an epidural, and after that final push the largest sense of relief will come over mom. This is when the baby will come out and be immediately placed on your chest.

That’s right, as long as there are no medical reasons against it, that baby will be placed right on mom’s chest for instant connection and they will probably stay there for a while after.

19 Breastfeeding That Soon!

If mom has gone her whole pregnancy planning to breastfeed her baby she may be shocked to know that this moment will come very shortly after birth. As part of the skin-to-skin bonding between mom and baby it is encouraged that she starts breastfeeding. Even if it is just for a moment. A lot of babies will immediately start searching for the chest as they have been designed to want to suck.

A new practice called the ‘breast crawl’ is very popular in hospitals now and it is when the baby is placed on mom’s stomach just below the chest and they inch their own body towards the breast.

18 Apgar Score

While your baby will stay with you immediately following birth for bonding, there is a moment when they will have to be taken away. The nurses will come and retrieve your baby to do some quick measurements, like weight and height. They will also need to preform the Apgar test. This is a test to see how well your little one is doing. There is a number that a baby needs to pass, and if they don’t they will go under further evaluations.

Again, if there are no medical emergencies, this can often also be done while baby is on mom’s chest. Make sure to put that in your birth plan if you don’t want the baby to be away from you for any length of time.

17 More Childbirth

A lot of women don’t know that there are three stages of childbirth and that the pushing out the baby actually only means she has done the second stage. There is still one more stage to get through and that is to give ‘birth’ to the placenta. There is a lot more than just the baby in the womb, and it all has to come out after the baby or mom is at risk for a pretty severe infection.

The good news is, there is not much effort and work that is involved in this. Mom may not even notice that this is happening because she is too involved and in love with her new baby. There are certain situations where mom may have to receive a shot to help expel the placenta.

16 Sew It Up

Immediately following the exit of your baby there will be a lot going on down there that mom may not even be aware of, usually because she is obsessing over her new baby and that is not a bad thing. There are a lot of instances where a woman will tear during childbirth or needs to be surgically cut to allow more room for the baby to enter.

This is common among first-time moms especially as this experience is all new to her body. While mom is with her baby, the doctor will sew her back up. If she has had an epidural she will still be feeling the effects, so the stitches will not hurt. If she gave birth free of pain medication, the doctor will apply some numbing cream to the area.

15 You Can Eat!

If you are expecting a baby and have been asking other moms out there what one of the best things was after the birth of their child, chances are a lot of them will say that their first meal post-delivery was such a great moment. It is a common rule in hospitals that mom’s can not eat while they are in labour. It can make them sick, and there is always a risk of a C-section that they need to be aware of.

Childbirth is also long and exhausting so when the baby comes out, it doesn’t take long for mom to want a really good meal. When she finally feels like eating she is going to be hungry and that meal will taste like it was cooked and sent to you straight from heaven.

14 Mom On The Move

There may be some hospitals that don’t operate the way we are going to outline here, but a lot of them still do. There will be two places mom will spend most of her time while she is giving birth. She will deliver the baby in a delivery room. This room has all the medical equipment the nurses and doctors need to deliver a baby. Mom will not stay in this room.

Shortly following birth, mom will be moved to a maternity suite. This is her recovery room for the rest of her stay. It is not so medical focused and is a quieter place for mom to rest, recover and bond with her baby. There are some hospitals that keep mom in the same room that she delivered in from the moment she checks in until she is discharged.

13 A Nice Shower

We have stated many times before that childbirth is long, messy and very sweaty. There is nothing really that compares to it and after it is all said and done mom will want a nice, hot shower. I remember that being the best shower I have ever had in my life.

You may not be able to shower immediately following birth as you may not be so sturdy on your feet. However, somewhere in those first few hours after birth you will be offered the wonderful shower. It will go a long way to making you feel better and it will be great to wash all of the labour off your body.

12 Nurses Will Want To Know The Details!

You spend most of your pregnancy with your OB, you meet with them and they help you with any and all questions and concerns you may have. However, when it comes to actually delivering your baby you will spend the most time with nurses. The nurses will be the ones who are coming in to check on you and make sure you are OK.

This will continue after birth and nurses will want to know any and all details. They will especially want to know if you have gone to the bathroom. It seems intrusive, but it is important that they know how you are doing in the bathroom because it lets them know that things are going back to normal.

11 Get A Good Look

Childbirth can be such a whirlwind of emotions that it really is hard to soak it all in. A lot of mothers don’t even get a good look at their baby as soon as they are born because of everything that is going on. Once mom is moved to her recovery room and is healing, now is the time to soak it all in.

You will have a chance to unswaddle your little one and take a good look. You will be able to inspect all of those little fingers and toes. You will be able to see their little face. This is a time to enjoy and soak it all in and not to let the outside world effect what is going on in that little hospital room.

10 More Contractions

As hard as childbirth is, a lot of women state that the hardest and most painful part is contractions. That these are the hardest things to get through and the thing that has most women screaming for an epidural. When the baby comes out, there may still be some contractions. These will feel nothing like the ones you had when your cervix was opening.

These contractions are signs that your abdomen is shrinking back to normal side and it may happen more when she breastfeeds. Breastfeeding releases the hormone that helps your uterus contract back to its normal size. These contractions will also be worse the more children you have.

9 Here Comes The Crowd

Here is something you can expect within the first twelve hours unless you say otherwise. You will have your first group of visitors. Friends and family members will want to come see the baby as soon as possible. This is not a given, and if you do not want any visitors right away it is important that you make your wishes known.

If you are uncomfortable telling people to leave, or people choose to ignore your wishes than the nurses are your best friends. They can act as your body guard and make sure no one bothers you in your time of recovery and bonding.

8 First Doctor’s Visit

Now that you are a mom there will be a lot of doctor’s visits in your future. The baby will need to be monitored as they grow and there will be a lot of wellness checks. However, many do not know that the first time your little one will be seen by a doctor is within that first 12 hours. Moms think that the first appointment will be the one when the baby is 24-48 hours old.

A pediatrician at the hospital will make their rounds and will check all the new babies when they are just born. This will not take long, and the doctor will not be doing anything too invasive. They just want to give them a quick check over and make sure everything looks good.

7 A Family Sleepover

There used to be a time when mom used to stay in the hospital a lot longer than she does now. Currently, if there are no problems, mom is sent home after 24-48 hours of giving birth. There also used to be a time when dad was not allowed to stay with mom overnight. If you want to go back even further, there was a time when dads were not even allowed in the delivery room, they had to wait in the waiting room for the good news.

Now, this has changed. The whole family will stay together in the maternity suit. That is why it is so important that dad packs an overnight bag for himself as well. It is your first sleepover as a new family.

6 Sleep!

We mentioned earlier that childbirth can be long, and this is even more true for mom’s who are about to do it for the first time. It can be hours, and even days, before that baby comes. If mom is doing it without pain medication than she is not going to be able to get any rest before the baby comes. Even if mom gets an epidural she won’t get it right away.

This can all make for one very tired mama, who is exhausted from pushing out that little baby. Within the first 12 hours after birth mom will get a chance to get a good sleep. Babies who are just born love to sleep, they are tired too. So, there will be a big chance for mom to get some much-needed rest as well.

5 C-Section Moms Need To Get Up!

A lot of these items still apply to a mom who has had to have a C-section in order to get her baby out safely. This one is crucial for any mom’s who have to go under the knife. A C-section is a major surgery, so it is not something to make light of and women who have these are tough. It is a good thing they are tough because they are going to need their strength.

It is encouraged that a mom who has had a C-section gets up and tries to walk as soon as possible. The nurses will be there to help her on her feet and make sure she is stable and doesn’t fall. Staying in bed makes it a lot harder to recover and mom now has a baby to take care of, so she needs to be mobile as soon as possible.

4 A Nice Massage

Up until this point we have had you believe that the nurses were your friend, and they are. This may be the one time you do not have the friendliest feelings towards them. If you give birth naturally, the nurses will come in shortly after you give birth and give you a uterine massage. Don’t be fooled by the word massage because this is nothing like you would receive at a spa.

This massage is painful, but it is important. They will press on your abdomen every 15-minutes for about an hour. While it may be painful and uncomfortable, it serves an important function. They are going to do this to help your uterus contract back to normal size.

3 Hearing Is Tested

Something that has recently been introduced where I live in Canada is that the newborn has their hearing tested within 12 hours of being born. They used to recommend that you take your baby to get their hearing tested, but now they come and do it right in the room. This is important, and it causes no distress to the baby.

A woman will come in and place a little ear bud in your baby’s ear. They will play a frequency and watch for how the ear responds to the sound. This lets them know if the baby can hear well or if they need further testing. The baby will probably sleep right through this and it won’t bother them at all.

2 A Lot Of Baby Wipes Are Needed

When we become pregnant we know that we are in for a lot of diapers and wipes. That we will be changing a lot of diapers in our future. When babies are born they have to rid their bodies of all the stuff they ingested while they were in the womb. The amniotic fluid, the vernix and the tiny hairs all got ingested while the baby was growing.

This has to come out and it does in the form of the baby’s very first poop. This is not a momentous occasion, and it is often quite messy. The substance is a dark black tar-like substance and it will take a lot of baby wipes to clear away. It is better to use a washcloth to clean this mess, just bring ones you will want to throw out after.

1 Instinct Kicks In

Even after reading all of the things on this list, the most important thing that will happen in the first 12 hours following birth is that instinct will kick in. This is the most crucial time for mom to bond with her baby and it is okay if her maternal instincts don’t kick in right away. Everyone is different, and you have just been through a traumatic experience, so it is normal if it takes you a little while.

There will come a moment when you will feel that instant connection, and if it doesn’t come right away it usually comes shortly following birth. You will be transformed from a regular woman into a mama bear almost instantly.

References: Family Education

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