There is a lot to take in the day you give birth and your first day as a new mum. Don’t worry, we have you covered with some helpful tips below on what to expect in the first 24 hours after giving birth.
Mums physical condition
Your physical condition in the first 24 hours after birth will vary significantly depending on the type of birth.
If you had a straightforward vaginal birth you might find that you are back at home only hours after giving birth.
If you had a C-Section, then your experience will be very different. Be prepared to remain in hospital some days after the birth. This is you can recover your strength and care for you and your baby.
Managing post-birth pain
The average hospital stay after giving birth in 2-6 days. Remember, 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 severe your doctor may prescribe some pain relief.
Those suffering from a swollen perineum post birth might find ice can help bring the swelling down. Apply 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.
Remember to keep the area clean and drink lots of water. Eat as much fibre as possible to help make sure your poo is soft!
Another important part of your body post-birth is the changes you will see in your breasts. After you give birth your breasts start to produce colostrum. This is what is needed to feed the baby. Producing breast milk post-birth can sometimes take a few days. 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 newborn. It will also help with the bonding process between mum and baby.
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!).
In the first 24 hours after giving birth your wound will be checked regularly. This is to make sure it is clean, healing properly and that the stitches have not stretched.
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 are at home a midwife will 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. The blood from the test is assessed for health conditions.
Your baby will also be weighed and if you notice some discolouring – don’t worry, jaundice is fairly common. Jaundice is identifiable as a yellow hint of skin tone and is normally picked up between 4-7 days post-birth.
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. You need to be aware of the impact that being sleep-deprived will have on your wellbeing.
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.
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. You can ask your partner, friends, family, doctors, midwife, or other healthcare professionals.
Don’t stay in silence and try to cope alone!
In the first few days after giving birth, you might find yourself in 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. You will bring normality back to a world that right now can seem like it has been tipped upside down.
Stay strong, ask for support if you need and above all – just be Mum.