What to expect the first 24 hours after birth?
Congratulations on your new bundle of joy! You’ve learnt and experienced everything about labour and delivery, but now you’re holding your newborn baby in your arms for the first time you’re feeling so overwhelmed and not quite sure what to do.
Luckily we all have those motherly instincts that helps us a little but the first 24 hours after birth can be the most exhausting and most emotional time for us women, your body is tired and immediately trying to recover, you’re itchy all over and may be feeling nauseous still. You’re probably trying to cope with a billion different emotions going round in your head and you’re happy and sad all at the same time.
After having three children, I’d like to think I’m some sort of pro when it comes to knowing what to do immediately after birth, I have certainly learnt a lot that’s for sure.
Here’s my list on what I think is important and what you might experience in the first 24 hours after birth.
1. Immediately have contact with your baby after birth: By this I mean skin to skin, it will help both mother and baby relax and stabilise baby’s body temperature, breathing and heart rate. Skin to skin also helps mothers bond with their babies so if you’re planning on breastfeeding, skin to skin is even more important.
2. Delay cord clamping: I believe you should always ask your midwife to delay cord clamping. Some midwifes will delay it, but most midwifes cut the cord immediately after as this has been the norm for many years. But delayed cord clamping allows the blood from the placenta to continue being transferred to baby after they’re born which increases the amount of stem cells which helps your babies growth and their immune system
3. Don’t worry if your babies skin looks blue or purple: Your babies skin may look blue or purple for the first 10 minutes after birth but will gradually turn pink if baby is breathing well.
4. You’ll be offered a Vitamin K injection for baby: Newborn babies have low levels of vitamin k. So an injection will be offered to stop baby from developing a vitamin k deficiency.
5. Don’t freak out if you start shaking: This is called postpartum chills, it can sometimes happen within a couple of hours after giving birth. You can start to shiver uncontrollably but it has nothing to do with being cold. There’s no real explanation for it other than it being caused by your hormones.
6. You’ll feel like a punching bag: After birth, your uterus has to shrink down from the size of a large watermelon to the size of a cantaloupe. If you have a good midwife, she will massage your uterus to help it contract down. But most midwifes won’t bother, at least at the hospital where I gave birth they won’t. I only had this happen to me one time out of the three. As painful as it is, it really does help.
7. Be ready for the first time you stand up: There will be blood! Eventually you will have to stand up, it’s completely normal to experience large amounts of bleeding after you’ve been sitting / lying for a while. Labour is so messy and it’s also normal to pass some large clots in the first 24 hours. Please don’t try and get up by yourself, I tried this and felt so light headed.
8. Don’t be afraid to say no to visitors: As soon as you’re home with baby, you’ll be getting endless amounts of calls and texts. Family will want to come round and visit the new arrival. If you don’t feel up for visitors, do not feel bad about saying no. Just remind them that you’ve just had a baby. You’re exhausted and need time to adjust and for your body to recover. But most importantly, you need time to bond with your baby. It’s easier said than done and I never had the confidence to say no. But if they respect you then they’ll understand. Just try and be honest because it really is ok to tell it as it is.
9. Baby will sleep a lot: Your baby will sleep up to 18 hours over the course of 24 hours as they adjust to life outside the womb. Don’t worry that your baby might be starving as their little bellies are only the size of a marble.
10. Let Dad experience skin to skin too: Skin to skin experience is good for Dads to bond with baby too. Their chests might be a little fuzzier than yours but they can also pass on the same benefits in terms of helping to regulate their baby’s temperature and heartbeat. So go on Mamas. Have some well deserved rest and let the Dads take over for a bit.
I also asked a few bloggers if they had anything to add about what to expect in the first 24 hours after birth, wether it be something they experienced themselves or just something they wanted to share and this is what they said:
Sarah over at http://whismicslramblings.co.uk said – It’s so important, now more than ever to look after yourself. You might feel alright, and you might think you can get back to your normal routine but don’t push yourself. Your body is still so fragile and you could do some serious damage just from bending, walking or just standing up for too long!
Jenni over at https://chillingwithlucas.com said – I had pins and needles all over my face/head a few hours after giving birth. The support workers and nurses couldn’t explain why. It lasted another few hours then stopped.
Victoria over at thegrowingmum.com said – I actually missed being pregnant and felt a bit empty after birth. The empty feeling was soon replaced by this overwhelming love for a tiny human.
Catherine over at https://passportsandadventures.com said – If the birth doesn’t go to plan you might find yourself totally wiped out afterwards and unable to do much for several hours. Use that time to catch up on some sleep while both you and your baby recover. Do not be in a rush to leave hospital!
Nicola over at https://mummytodex.com said – After pains! And they get worse, the more kids you have. With my second I was crying out in pain, so much so a midwife came running over to help me. Ibuprofen and paracetamol help, but I swear to god they’re worse than contractions! Luckily, they ease after about 24 hours and feel like mild period pain afterwards until your uterus is fully contracted.
Helen over at www.mummysginfund.co.uk said – Hunger! I was absolutely starving afterwards, like ‘eat three roast dinners a day’ starving!
Sarah over at Letthembesmall.com said – Sweats…. I had really bad night sweats after both my boys and genuinely thought I had something seriously wrong. Turns out night sweats are a way of getting rid of excess fluid and hormones.