There is a lot to take in on your first day as a new mum. Don’t worry though, we have you covered with some helpful tips on what to expect in those first 24 hours after giving birth.
Your physical condition
The average hospital stay after giving birth is between 2-6 days but your physical condition in the first 24 hours after labour will vary significantly, depending on the type of birth.
If you have a straightforward vaginal birth then you might find that you are back at home only hours after giving birth. If you have a C-Section, then your experience may be very different. C-Section deliveries often mean remaining in hospital some days after the birth. This is so you can recover your strength and care for you and your baby.
Managing post-birth pain
All women lose blood during and after they have had their baby. As well as blood loss, you may also experience post-birth pain as your uterus contracts. Don’t worry, this is perfectly normal. This pain can feel as irrelevant as period pain or a severe as giving birth (labour pain).
If you find yourself suffering from post-birth uterus pain use a warm treatment for your stomach. If the pain is very severe your doctor may be able to prescribe some pain relief.
Those suffering from a post-birth swollen perineum might find ice can help bring the swelling down. Try applying an ice pack on the area for 15 minutes every few hours and use some form of compression (maternity pads are fine).
You can also try some pelvic floor exercises to help increase the flow of blood in the area to accelerate the healing.
For those Mums that have a C-Section birth, you will need help moving around in the first few days after giving birth. Make sure you think about how that can happen for you.
You will absolutely need to avoid lifting heavy objects, stretching, and even driving a car. Think about how you will get baby home! Your wound will also need to be checked regularly to make sure it is clean, healing properly and that the stitches have not stretched.
Remember to keep the area clean, drink lots of water and eat as much fibre as possible to help make sure your poo is soft!
Another important aspect of your first day as a new mum is the changes you will notice in your breasts.
After you give birth your breasts start to produce colostrum. This colostrum is needed to feed your baby.
Producing breast milk post-birth can sometimes take a few days so don’t panic if you haven’t produced any in those first few days. Remember to breastfeed as soon as the baby is born. This stimulation will help your body kick into action to the production process for your hungry baby. It will also help with the bonding process between mum and baby.
Your baby’s condition
The first health check that takes place when your baby is born is the head to toe check in hospital. Your baby will also have a hearing screen test and an injection of vitamin K (you can refuse if you so wish).
When you arrive back home a midwife will also perform a heel prick test. If you happen to still be in hospital 6-8 days after giving birth this will take place in the hospital. The heel prick test takes a few drops of your baby’s blood from its heel to be tested for health conditions.
Your baby will also be weighed and if you notice some discolouring they will be checked for jaundice. Jaundice is identifiable as a yellow hint of skin tone and normally presents itself 4-7 days after childbirth.
If treatment is needed for Jaundice, it will happen immediately in hospital and you may be moved to a private room so you can be next to your baby whilst it receives light treatment in an incubator.
Your feelings post-birth
You will be very emotional after giving birth because your body has just gone through something quite incredible.
As amazing as the human body is, you will need to allow your body space and time to recover from child birth.
If you start to find yourself feeling a little low, or if your milk hasn’t arrived yet, remember it can take up to six days to start producing so keep your spirits up.
It is not uncommon for a new mum to feel worn out in the first few weeks after giving birth. Your body will adapt as mother nature kicks into action but if you find that you are really struggling to cope with the demands of caring for a newborn baby then you must ask for help. Speak to your partner, friends, family, doctors, midwife, or other healthcare professionals but whatever you do don’t stay in silence and try to cope alone!
In your first day as a new mum, you might find yourself in a bit of a muddle. It can feel overwhelming but remember…. you are a new Mum and there is no special handbook for this.
Your instincts will see you make the right decisions so stay strong, ask for support if you need it and above all – just be Mum.
You’ll be wonderful, Mum.