Welcoming your baby into the world is the biggest deal—but what happens in the delivery room after that first (spectacular) cuddle?
1. Cut the cord
Either your midwife will cut the umbilical cord, or your partner might be offered the honour (it doesn’t hurt baby, but Dad may catch a nick if he’s got shaky hands).
2. Your baby gets a mark out of ten
Pressure to achieve so soon…The Apgar Score refers to a checklist and rating system of your baby’s vitals, including colour of their skin, heart rate, breathing, muscle tone and reflexes. Your midwife will do it at one minute after birth, and then again at five minutes. A total score of 7 usually means a clean bill of health.
3. Placenta delivery
The baby’s out—but the placenta needs to be delivered, too. This is referred to as the third stage of labour, and while less lauded than the prior stage, it’s an integral part of the birthing process.
You can either opt for an injection (into the thigh) to help speed up the delivery of the placenta, or push it out naturally.
This is the part newborns tend to be least thrilled about—separation sucks—but it’s just to establish a base weight so that health visitors, midwives and docs can check your baby is growing at a healthy rate.
5. Counting fingers and toes
Your midwife will check to make sure all your baby’s digits are accounted for; she’ll also perform a hearing test, which may be repeated at a later stage should results be inconclusive.
6. Vitamin K injection
This is administered to your baby shortly after delivery to help prevent a rare bleeding disorder known as haemorrhagic disease of the newborn. Alternatively, your baby can receive the vitamin orally, but bear in mind this will require more follow-up doses.
7. Tea, Toast, Cuddles
This is the traditional post-birth celebratory meal, and will likely be the best thing to hit your tastebuds in nine months. Enjoy the grub, and soak in the snuggles. Good job, mama!