Preparing for Birth Australian Edition Partial Preview - Page 19

Postnatal: What to Expect Congratulations! Your baby is here! Typically, your baby is placed on your tummy right away and you begin to get to know each other. It is best for you to be together initially and for the hours and days that follow, as this promotes bonding and has many health benefits. After giving birth, your body continues to go through changes. Hormones continue to work, the uterus shrinks, internal organs shift, and you begin to heal. Skin-to-Skin What May Happen Holding baby skin-to-skin (also called Kangaroo • Care provider may take measures to slow blood Care) has many well-documented benefits.* loss (medication, uterine massage). • Repair (stitches) in perineum (if needed). • Helps the uterus contract and reduce bleeding. • Once stable and comfortable, transfer to • Releases hormones for lactation and bonding. postnatal room, where applicable. • Baby is more likely to successfully latch on to the • Drink fluids and eat when able. breast for breastfeeding. • Rest or sleep. • Most natural and effective way to warm baby. • Move, walk, use the bathroom when ready. • Baby’s heart rate, respiration, blood pressure and Preview • Visitors and/or contacting family and friends to body temperature are more stable. share your news. • Baby is calmer and less likely to cry. Immediate Postnatal These common physical symptoms may occur in the first minutes or hours after birth. • Shaking (sometimes severe) for several minutes or more immediately after the birth. • Continued contractions/cramping which cause the placenta to detach. • Bleeding from the site where the placenta was attached to the uterus or from any tears. • Feeling weak or unsteady. • Sore muscles, especially if labour was long. • Swelling and tenderness in the perineum (the skin between the vaginal opening and anus that is stretched during birth). Suckling at the breast releases oxytocin, causing the uterus to contract, which decreases bleeding. The placenta has nourished and grown your baby and is an incredible organ. You have several options for what to do with it after birth. It may be discarded, donated for research or you may keep it. Some women choose to encapsulate the placenta and take these capsules after birth because they believe it helps their physical recovery and emotional health after birth. Some families freeze and save the placenta for later use or bury it under a tree planted in honour of their new baby. *If skin-to-skin time with mother is delayed, skin-to-skin with the partner is beneficial in the meantime. Life with Baby 51