If you’re about to give birth to your first child, it can sometimes be hard to picture what to expect during the first few days once your child is finally here. Giving birth is quite the life changing experience, and it can certainly feel like a bit of a whirlwind experience.

That said, a little bit of guidance and advice on what your first few days might look like can go a long way to helping reassure you, which is exactly what we’ve put together here

Vital health checks

Once your baby is born, the umbilical cord is cut and you’ve been given a little time to hold your baby, a few especially important health checks will happen. Your baby will be weighed, measured and have their head circumference taken. They’ll also run some tests to see if your baby carries any rare diseases.

During the very first few minutes of life, your medical team will test for something called an Apgar Score. This test is performed twice within the first five minute of life and looks for five key things:

  • Their breathing
  • Their heart rate
  • Their skin color
  • Their reflexes
  • Their skin tone

Once all these tests have taken place, usually after 1-2 days, you’ll be allowed to return home with your newborn. However, this could take longer if the baby was delivered through C section, or came prematurely. you might look here for malpractice trial information if you’ve been in hospital for a while and you have legitimate concerns and fears about the way your pregnancy and newborn’s birth has been handled.

Your medical team will want to confirm a few things about your newborn before you leave. They will be monitoring for things such as:

  • The baby has received any necessary vaccines and injections (such as hepatitis B and a vitamin K shot)
  • The baby has managed to pee and poo normally
  • There’s no indications of a high temperature or fever
  • The baby is managing to feed successfully

If your medical team are happy that both mother and child are healthy, you’ll be able to return home.

Adjusting to home life

Re-adjusting to a home environment with a baby after several days in a hospital can feel a little jarring. Though it’s important to remember that you haven’t been left alone; after 2-3 more days at home, you should visit the hospital with your baby for a check up. 

At this stage, you’ll be able to discuss how well your baby is doing, or any difficulties you might be facing, such as you’re having difficulty feeding it regularly. Your doctor can then work with you to help you overcome these issues.

Other things you’ll consider around the home after birth include:

  • Finding the time to rest. Babies usually sleep for four hours at a time, so you’ll be able to find some windows of opportunity
  • Making sure you eat enough to keep your strength up – batch cooking freezable meals can be a great way to ensure you’re able to eat enough while looking after your baby
  • Dealing with unwanted visitors. Home life can be stressful enough with a newborn to look after. Make sure friends and family know what your preferences are, such as what times you’re OK with accepting visitors and when you’d like privacy.

While the first few days of life are just a small snapshot of your newborn’s life, knowing what to expect can help make the transition a little easier to understand and handle.

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "The first few days after the birth of your child," in Medicalopedia, November 22, 2019, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/8005/the-first-few-days-after-the-birth-of-your-child/].