Your Pregnancy After 35 : Labor and Delivery (part 14) - What Happens after Your Baby Is Born

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- Welcome to your First Trimester
- Welcome to your Second Trimester
- Welcome to your Third Trimester

What Happens after Your Baby Is Born

Things happen quickly once your baby emerges into the world. First, baby’s mouth and throat are suctioned. Then the healthcare provider clamps and cuts the umbilical cord (or your partner may cut the cord). If your partner wants to cut the umbilical cord after the baby is delivered, discuss it with your healthcare provider before you go into labor. What your partner may be allowed to do varies from place to place.

Lily had delivered 2 days earlier. She called me because she thought she should be feeling a lot better, and she was afraid something was wrong because she didn’t. She said her breasts were sore and ached, it felt as though her uterus were still contracting (especially when she breastfed) and sitting down was an ordeal because her episiotomy was sore. I told her all these things were normal, and we talked about what she could do to help make things better. In the hospital, she had taken some pain medicine but didn’t want to take any more because she was nursing. I told her the prescription she had been given was safe and would probably help a lot. Breastfeeding stimulated her uterus to contract to help it get smaller so it wouldn’t bleed. We talked about Sitz baths for her episiotomy, and I reminded her the pain medicine would also help with that discomfort. When I saw her a few weeks later, she said my suggestions had made her life a lot easier.

Once the initial evaluation is complete, baby is returned to you. Later, the baby is placed in a heated bassinet for a period of time. 

Is Home Birth Safe?

Home births happen. Of the 25,000 home births that occur every year in the United States, 25% (a little over 6000) of them are unplanned. That means the other 75% (nearly 19,000) of home births are planned. But are home births safe?

You may talk with friends or acquaintances who had a home birth and everything went fine. Some women want to give birth at home because they feel it’s more natural. Another factor may be the high cost of labor and delivery, especially if you don’t have full insurance coverage.

But research shows that giving birth at home is an extremely risky undertaking. One study showed twice as many infant deaths and serious, dangerous complications when babies are delivered at home. What can be done at home if your baby has serious problems and needs immediate medical care that can only be provided at a hospital or birthing center staffed by professionals?

We know there are also dangers to mom. First-time pregnant women who deliver at home have nearly triple the risk of complications after baby’s birth. In addition, the chance of serious problems increases when a woman suffers from various pregnancy problems. Even carrying more than one baby increases your risk.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has firmly stated that home birthing is hazardous to a woman and her baby. Based on Dr. Curtis’s own experiences with the aftermath of home births, we must concur. We advise any woman who is considering this option to talk to her healthcare provider about the safety and wisdom of delivering her baby at the hospital or a birthing center.

Vaginal Birth after Cesarean (VBAC)

Today, some women who have had a Cesarean with one pregnancy deliver vaginally with a later pregnancy. This is called vaginal birth after Cesarean (VBAC). Many of these deliveries are successful. However, research shows nine out of 10 women who had a previous Cesarean delivery choose a repeat Cesarean for the next birth.

A number of factors in your situation must be considered. Ask your healthcare provider for information before making this decision. Certain criteria must be met before you can have a VBAC, including the following.

The type of uterine incision from a previous Cesarean delivery is important. (This incision may not be similar to the incision made in your abdomen.) With a classical incision, which goes high up on the uterus, labor is not permitted in subsequent pregnancies.

The size of your pelvis is important. If you are small and your baby is large, it may cause problems.

You have no medical complications, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

You are expecting only one baby.

Your baby is entering the birth canal head first.

If you’re considering a vaginal birth with this pregnancy, ACOG has made some recommendations about the birthing facility. It should offer the ability to perform an emergency Cesarean delivery within 30 minutes, the ability to monitor the fetus continuously and a fully equipped, 24-hour blood bank.

If you’re interested in a vaginal birth, discuss VBAC with your healthcare provider well in advance of labor so plans can be made. Discuss the benefits and risks, and ask your healthcare provider for his or her opinion as to your chances of a successful vaginal delivery. He or she knows your health and pregnancy history. Include your partner in the decision-making process.

 
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