Preparing for Birth Australian Edition Partial Preview - Page 19
Postnatal: What to Expect
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.
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
• Visitors and/or contacting family and friends to
body temperature are more stable.
share your news.
• Baby is calmer and less likely to cry.
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