The First 24 Hours After Delivery

The First Hours after Baby is Born


It all comes down to this moment, the moment that will catch your breath and change your life completely. Although your experience may be slightly different than what follows, here's what you might expect during your baby's first day of life and your first day as a parent.

The first thing you will see is the crown of your baby's head begin to emerge. As a contraction builds and you breathe deeply the rest of your baby's head will appear. The doctor will begin to suction the mouth and nose for excess secretions, even before he or she is fully born. As the rest of the baby is born , you will hear a loud cry as he takes his first breath and his lungs begin to function.

Your baby will probably not look as you expected. Most newborns are not cute. Newborns are wrinkled and their skin color may not be uniform. Some babies have a bluish or gray appearance which eventually turns red. Black infants will look purple. Newborns skin is most often covered with the remains of the vernix, and perhaps with traces of blood or other material. After the cord is cut the baby is wrapped in a receiving blanket and placed on your abdomen. It is at his point that your baby's very first checkup will begin.

You can expect the doctor or the nurse to do some or all of the following:

●     Clear baby's airways by suctioning his or her nose.

●     Clamp and cut the umbilical cord.

●     Administer eye drops or ointment to prevent infections

●     Assess baby's condition by the Apgar rating system (see below)

●     Weigh and measure baby

●     Listen to heart sounds and respirations

●     Check reflexes

●     Check reflexes


 Test How it is Done What it Means
Apgar TestAt 1 and 5 minutes after birth, the baby is assessed for these characteristics: color, heart rate, muscle tone, reflex response, and breathing.Gives an indication of the baby's general condition at birth. Helps your doctor decide if your baby needs extra care.
Screening for hyperphenylketonuria, anemia and hypothyroidismBlood is taken from baby's heelDetects PKU
Coombs test
Blood is taken from the umbilical cord if the mothers blood is RH negative, type of, or has not been tested for antibodies.
Detects whether Rh antibodies have been formed
Reflex assessment
Tests several specific reflexes, including the rooting and grasp reflexes.
If a certain reflex is absent, additional evaluation is needed
Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale
Tests a broad range of behaviors in those babies in whom a problem is suspected. Some hospitals routinely test all babies. Provides valuable information to doctors and parents about how newborns respond to their environment