Parents are so relieved and excited when their baby is born. However, for the health professionals involved in the birth, the most important factors are the health of the mother and baby. They do all they can to ensure that everything is done to assure that the baby receives the best care and that all tests are carried out to check its health.
This may be frustrating and sometimes worrying for parents. But it is important that the tests are done immediately so that any appropriate action can be taken. Doctors will attend to any needs of the mother such as delivery of the placenta and stitching if necessary. The baby will be the focus of attention of course, and doctors will check all vital signs, such as breathing, heart rate, and temperature. A number of measurements will be taken and the baby will be checked for developmental issues using testing of reflexes and the Apgar test.
All areas of the baby’s body will be checked, including ears, eyes, and mouth, as well as genitals and hips. Once the doctor is happy that there is nothing to raise concern, he can leave the new family in peace to enjoy their precious first moments together.
20 Clear Mucus From The Baby’s Mouth
Babies are born with a little mucus or amniotic fluid in their mouths or nose, and a doctor will clear this from the baby to help the baby breathe. This can be done with a suction pump. This may also be done during the delivery if the baby’s head is born and mucus is evident, and if there is still mucus present, more suction will be removed after the birth.
It’s important to remove any obstruction to the baby’s breathing, as they will not have had to breathe in the womb and need to learn the new skill immediately.
19 Get Breathing Started
The doctor will check the baby is breathing properly. Once the mouth and airway are clear, if the baby is still not breathing, the doctor may rub the baby’s back and feet as this can kickstart breathing.
It is vital that effective breathing is facilitated as soon as possible. If the baby is deprived of oxygen for any length of time, it can cause brain damage or even death according to Healthhype. There are several issues that can give a baby difficulty breathing to start with, such as the umbilical cord being compressed or the placenta coming away from the womb.
18 Clamp & Cut the Cord
Very soon after the baby is born, the doctor will clamp and cut the cord, or invite the father to cut it. The cord is usually clamped and cut immediately after birth, but some women prefer to wait until the cord has stopped pulsating, and the maximum placental blood is transferred to the baby. A doctor or midwife may agree to this and allow a few minutes to pass before the cord is cut.
It has been found that in babies whose cords were cut after a minute or two, they had a higher level of iron in their blood later and had a higher birth weight according to American Pregnancy.
17 Wipe The Baby Clean & Dry
The baby may be covered in blood, mucus, and vernix when it is first born. It will be wet from the amniotic fluid and may come out looking a little less than clean! However, a nurse or doctor will wipe the baby clean and ensure that the baby is dried to keep it warm.
Babies cannot regulate their temperature well when they are first born, so it is important to dry them and warm them up. Babycenter notes that this is best accomplished by skin to skin contact with the mother, but towels or blankets can be added to provide extra warmth.
16 Do An Apgar Test
The Apgar test measures a baby’s vital signs soon after birth and will reveal any issues that need investigating. It is performed twice, once at the first minute after birth, and secondly after five minutes.
There are five parts to the test, and a score of zero, one or two is given. The vital signs are skin color, heart rate, reflex response, muscle tone and breathing. If a baby scores seven to ten there will be no concern and the test scores will be recorded. If the score is lower, the baby may need extra assistance.
15 Measure The Head & Length
There are many factors that can determine the size of a newborn baby. The size of the parents, how long overdue the baby is and whether the mother has suffered from gestational diabetes, all contribute to the size of the baby.
The doctor will measure the head circumference and length of the baby and record these measurements soon after birth. These measurements are recorded on a chart that will track the baby’s development throughout its first years, on a centile that the doctor hopes the baby will follow. The head size is important to measure as it can indicate the growth of the baby’s brain. The baby’s head will grow significantly in the first four months of life, according to Parents.com.
14 Check How Many Pounds
It’s important to weigh the baby soon after birth to assess if the baby has a healthy size. A doctor or nurse will weigh the baby and mark its weight on a chart that will establish what percentile your baby is on. Baby’s weight depends on the parental size and if the baby was born at full term.
The size of a newborn baby is not an indication of the adult size of the baby. There are many small babies that have developed into tall, strapping adults and vice versa. Until the first month, the baby will gain around an ounce a day but may lose some weight initially.
13 Take Care Of Mom
If you have had a vaginal delivery, and have torn or had an episiotomy, the doctor will sew the mother up while the baby is a welcome distraction! The area of skin between the vagina and the anus often tears during childbirth as it tries to stretch to allow the baby’s head to emerge.
Some small tears don’t need stitches, but a significant tear will be stitched up with dissolvable stitches. Rarely, a woman has a serious tear may suffer some significant after effects. NCT recommends asking a health practitioner how to care for the area to minimize pain and effect a quick recovery.
12 Put Name Tags On
Very soon after birth, a doctor will place a small bracelet or ankle tag on your baby and on the parents as well. This tag denotes the gender of the baby, the time and date of birth and the doctor in charge of the baby’s care.
It is important to ensure that the baby is identified in case it needs to be taken away from the parents for any reason and it can be easily identified. Some hospitals now put a small tracking device on the baby as well to safeguard the baby against being removed from the building.
11 Check The Diaper
The doctor or nurse may ask the parents about the baby’s dirty diapers in the hours after the birth to ensure that feeding is established and that the baby is thriving. The baby will pass meconium on the first day or two after its birth and this shows that the baby’s digestive system is working properly. It is a black, sticky substance, quite unlike any of the subsequent diapers. Future poops can look very loose and will vary in color from green to brown or yellow.
It is important to know that the baby’s diapers are wet, so it can be checked that the baby is not dehydrated.
10 Give Medication
A newborn baby will routinely be given a vitamin K injection or drops and some eye drops or ointment to counteract any infection encountered during the birth. Vitamin K is necessary for a newborn baby says UW Health Kids, particularly for a premature baby to ensure that blood clotting is efficient in the baby.
The antibacterial eye cream or drops is put into both eyes in the first hour after delivery. This is to protect the baby from any bacteria that might have been present in the mother’s birth canal that can cause the baby’s eyes to swell or produce a discharge.
9 Show & Give You The Baby
Doctors understand how important it is for the baby and mother to be bonded together as soon as possible after birth. They will aim to give the baby skin to skin contact with the mother as soon as it is born.
The baby may then be removed to be cleaned and to have vital early medical procedures carried out. The aim will then be to give the baby back to the mother as soon as possible to establish some time together before the baby drops off to sleep. Birth is hard work for the baby and it will routinely sleep for several hours afterward.
8 Deliver The Red Sack
The third stage of labor refers to the delivery of the placenta, some time after the birth of the baby. Once the cord stops pulsating and giving blood to the baby, the cord will be cut and the placenta is delivered through a series of contractions. It normally comes away in one piece quite easily.
Doctors may give an injection of syntocinon to the mother to facilitate a big contraction that pushes the placenta out. It is very important that the placenta comes away from the uterine wall and if the doctor feels that some of the placenta has remained or the placenta does not come away, surgery may be necessary to ensure it is all removed.
7 Take The Baby’s Temperature
A newborn baby finds it hard to maintain a constant temperature as it adjusts to life outside the warm, cozy womb. All will be done to ensure that the baby is warm, but if the doctor feels that the baby is not maintaining a warm enough temperature, it may be placed in a warmer or incubator to build up some heat.
Babies can't shiver or sweat as effectively as an adult when they are first born, so it is up to the caregivers to ensure that the baby is kept at the relevant temperature. It's the only form of body heat regulation is the small amount of body fat it has in storage.
6 Check Ears & Eyes
A baby has been immersed in the liquid for nine months and then pushed through the birth canal to come out into the world. The eyes may be swollen and puffy when the baby is born and the baby may find it hard to open them. Kids Health notes that if the baby is held upright, it encourages the baby to open their eyes. Doctors will check for signs of cataracts or rare cancers as well.
Ears may have been folded or squashed during delivery and this will be checked after the newborn arrives. The hearing will also be tested at some point. During the test, a small device is placed in the baby’s ear and clicking sounds are played and the baby’s responses assessed.
5 Check The Baby’s Mouth
The doctor will check the baby’s mouth after birth and any amniotic fluid or mucus is removed to ensure that the baby can breathe and feed easily.
Babies may yawn or open their mouths wide and parents may see small white spots in the baby’s mouth. This is perfectly normal, and the little spots will disappear after a few days or weeks.
The mouth will be checked by the doctor to ensure there is no cleft palate or tongue tie and will check the color of the mucous membranes. A doctor may also put a clean finger in the baby’s mouth to check its sucking reflex.
4 Take The Baby’s Heart Rate
The doctor will listen to the baby’s heart rate to ensure that everything is working efficiently and that there is no evidence of abnormal rhythm or murmurs. If there are any abnormalities, these will require further investigation and possible treatment.
It is important to check that the baby’s heart is beating at the correct rhythm and that there are no signs of congenital abnormalities. A regular heartbeat is a good sign that the baby will be breathing effectively. There is nothing to worry about with these routine tests, most are completely normal and immediate care can be given if there is any cause for concern.
3 Check The Hips
Doctors will check the baby’s hips straight after birth as well. They will check for a ‘click,’ which can be felt rather than heard. They will be checking for a condition called Developmental Dysplasia of the hips or DDH. The doctor will check the hips for symmetry, length of legs and how the baby’s legs are when they are at rest.
DDH is a condition where the ball and socket joint of the hips is not correctly formed, and the bones do not fit together properly. It is more common in a first pregnancy, a breech birth and if there has been a reduction in amniotic fluid in the womb.
2 Check The 'Parts'
The doctor will check the genitals of the newborn baby. In a boy, the doctor will check the scrotum for undescended testes and they will check the penis to make sure the opening is at the tip, and not on the underside. If this is the case it needs to be corrected. There may be some swelling of the boy’s genitals as well, but this is not a cause for worry.
A baby girl often has some discharge from their vagina that can be white or a slightly bloody in color. This is because of maternal hormones. Doctors will also ask moms if the baby can pee or poo later, after they’ve had some time to change diapers.
1 Check Skin For Birthmarks
Birthmarks are very common and are usually caused by blood vessels under the skin or excessive pigmentation. The blood related or vascular birthmark is most common and around half of the babies are born with a ‘stork mark’ or red patch on the face, which fades soon after birth.
Strawberry marks or haemangiomas are more common in girls and can appear anywhere on the body, but usually disappear after a few years.
The most common pigmentation birthmarks are Mongolian birth spots or café au lait birthmarks. As long as these do not indicate a problem with the baby, they will simply be recorded by the doctor and often they disappear in time.
References: Healthhype, Americanpregnancy, Babycenter, Uwhealthkids, Parents