The birth of a baby is one of life’s most wondrous moments. Few experiences compare to this event. Newborn babies have amazing abilities. Yet they are dependent on others for feeding, warmth, and comfort.
Amazing physical changes occur with birth. When the baby is delivered, the umbilical cord is clamped and cut near the navel. This ends the baby’s dependence on the placenta for oxygen and nutrition. As the baby takes its first breath, air moves into the lungs. Before birth, the lungs are not used to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide, and need less blood supply.When a baby starts to breathe air at birth, the change in pressure in the lungs helps close the fetal connections and redirect the blood flow. Now blood is pumped to the lungs to help with the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Some babies have too much fluid in their lungs. Stimulating the baby to cry by massage and stroking the skin can help bring the fluid up where it can be suctioned from the nose and mouth.
Healthy babies born in a vaginal delivery are usually able to stay with the mother. In many hospitals, immediate newborn assessments include weight, length, and medicines. Even the first bath is done right in your room. As quickly as possible, a new baby is placed in your arms. Often, the baby is placed skin-to-skin on your chest right after birth. Some babies will breastfeed right away.
In the first hour or 2 after birth, most babies are in an alert, wide awake phase. This offers a chance for you and your partner to get to know your new baby. A baby will often turn to the familiar sound of the mother’s voice. A baby’s focus of vision is best at about 8 to 12 inches–just the distance from the baby cradled in your arms to your face
Right after delivery, your baby will likely be placed on your chest while a nurse evaluates your baby’s transition. Transition is the period after birth when your baby’s body is adjusting to being outside your womb. Some babies may need oxygen or extra nursing care to transition. A small number may need to be transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit for extra care. However, most new babies stay in the room with their mother.