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This Is What Happens After Giving Birth In A Hospital

This Is What Happens After Giving Birth In A Hospital

Just one day after giving birth to my son, I thought it was a good idea to take him for a walk down the hospital hall, I mean what could possibly go wrong? Turns out, it’s a huge NO-NO after you give birth in a hospital because within just a few seconds nurse was running down the hall advising me to go back to my hospital bed. I wasn’t thrilled with her advice but decided to listen to her. As I was going back to my bed, the nurse told me I could easily get dizzy and fall due to blood loss, and it’s not recommended to take a walk with the baby without a wheeled bassinet. I didn’t know that, just like many other women aren’t familiar with this information (if it’s your first child) mostly because the amount of consumer health information about what exactly happens in the hospital after birth is quite limited. The purpose of this article is to discuss what happens in a hospital after labor.

The first hour

Unless you specify otherwise, after you give birth your baby will be cleaned and evaluated first. However, many women want to hold their baby straight from the womb, and if that’s your wish as well, you will have to make it clear when you arrive at the hospital. Why is it important to hold your baby immediately after you give birth? Joyce McKeever, the clinical program manager for the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative and director of clinical services at the Center for Breastfeeding at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune NJ, has a perfect explanation for that:

“The first hour after birth is when the baby is most awake and alert. It’s a great time to get acquainted by holding your baby skin-to-skin on your chest and to start breastfeeding, which helps the mom’s uterus contract and reduces bleeding immediately after delivery.”

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    When you are composing your birth plan or simply talking about your delivery with your health care provider make sure you specify how you want your first hour after delivery to go. For example, if your baby is perfectly healthy it’s okay to request a few minutes of one-on-one time.

    Recovery after giving birth

    One of the greatest advantages of giving birth in a hospital is the access to adequate medical care. Doctors and nurses are there to make sure you and your baby are perfectly healthy. Recovery varies from hospital to hospital, for example, in some hospital after you deliver the placenta and have been stitched up, you are transferred to postpartum rooms. Generally, they divide rooms into several categories e.g. labor, delivery, recovery, and postpartum. However, some hospitals practice family-centered care where you get a private room that also contains fold-out bed for your partner. Also, in some hospitals it’s obligatory for baby and their mothers to spend time in the same room for a chance to bond. Therefore, while pregnancy week by week keeps advancing you should get informed about the recovery in the hospital where you will deliver your baby.

    Don’t hesitate to ask for help

    Most women take one of these mistakes:

    • They avoid asking for help with breastfeeding, pain relievers or even with taking a shower and other aspects of recovery in hospital
    • When asking for help they don’t consider asking for several things at once.

    Jeanne Faulkner, RN and author of Ask the Labor Nurse blog, recommends while spending time in the recovery room after giving birth, you should use the call button wisely. The hospital is the perfect place to get all the help you need with every aspect of motherhood, and you should definitely use that opportunity to make your life easier. Moreover, when asking for help you should always consider asking for several things at once e.g. ibuprofen, breastfeeding help, juices, etc. Why is this important? It’s important because having specific requests allows nurses to provide more focus and efficient care.

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    If you’d like to take a shower after giving birth, you shouldn’t do it alone at the risk of losing consciousness increases when blood pressure drops due to hot water. Instead, you should use a shower bench and ask your partner, friend, family member, or a nurse to watch over you.

    Duration of hospital stay

    The first thing that all women want to know after delivery is duration of hospital stay as they want to take their baby home as soon as possible. Generally, insurance plans cover two-day hospital recovery after vaginal delivery and four days after C-section.

    Regardless of how many days you spend in the hospital, there are a few things that have to be done before you leave. They are:

    • Mommy exam – health care provider has to make sure you’re healing properly i.e. that your uterus is contracting and bleeding is decreasing. After delivery, you will most likely have heavy bleeding that weakens and decreases each day.
    • Baby exam – pediatrician will have to examine your baby and administer heel-stick blood test that identifies metabolic disorders.
    • Skills check – the purpose of this test is to determine that your baby is ready for breastfeeding or bottle-feeding successfully. Moreover, skills check also makes sure you understand how to perform basic tasks like diapering, bathing, etc.
    • Forms – you have to fill out the forms and birth certificate.

    Post-delivery body in the first 24 hours after labor

    Here is what your body will experience 24 hours after you deliver your precious bundle of joy:

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    • Post-baby belly – remember when Kate Middleton gave birth to Prince George and Princess Charlotte, and she stepped out of the hospital the next day with a noticeable baby bump under her lovely dress? Well, just like the Duchess of Cambridge, you will also have a baby bump after giving birth. During your pregnancy abdominal muscles, uterus and skin are stretched, and it takes weeks or several months for that area to shrink back.
    • Excess water weight – immediately after labor you will lose about 10 to 13 pounds which are great news. But even 24 hours after delivery you will still carry excess water weight that will be gone in a few weeks or months.
    • Bleeding – after delivery you will experience vaginal discharge called lochia which consists of mucus, leftover blood and sloughed-off tissue from the lining of the uterus.
    • Pelvic cramps – they are also called after-pains, and they are short-lived. You will experience these cramps because uterus starts to tighten as it returns to pre-pregnancy size and location.
    • Soreness – after delivery it takes time to heal. For example, if you had a vaginal labor your perineum (area between vagina and rectum) will be stretched, torn, bruised and swollen. On the other hand, after C-section you will feel soreness around incision as well as exhaustion, constipation and nausea.
    • Elimination issues – with a vaginal delivery your bladder is bruised and sore perineum may make it painful for you to pee.
    • Breast changes – immediately after labor your breasts will produce small amounts of colostrum which is a thick and yellowish precursor to breast milk. Moreover as you try to breastfeed your baby, you will feel pain and soreness in your nipples.
    • Mood swings – hormonal changes and physical discomfort may cause mood swings coupled with the lack of sleep.

    Packing for hospital checklist

    • Picture ID (driver’s license or any other ID with your photo), insurance card, and other hospital paperwork you will need
    • Birth plan (if you have it)
    • Eyeglasses or contact lenses (if you wear them)
    • Bathrobe, nightgown, slippers, and socks – hospital provides them, but most women prefer taking their own
    • Book, magazine, your own pillow or anything else that helps you relax
    • Toiletries
    • Cell phone and charger
    • Comfortable shoes
    • Nursing or regular bras
    • Maternity underpants
    • Baby’s going home outfit
    • Receiving blanket
    • Don’t forget to install a car seat for you, baby.

    Losing weight after delivery

    As it was mentioned above, immediately after labor you will lose up to 13 pounds, but as excess water weight remains you want to start losing weight as soon as you come back home from the hospital. As physical exercise is out of the question for most moms (except celebrities who have a team of nannies catering their babies), you might want to try another approach. For example, the secret to Kate Middleton’s post-baby body was yoga and juices. Here are a few recipes for super juices for weight loss that will help you get back into the shape and improve your overall health at the same time:

    • Beet greens, beetroot, carrot, and kale
    • Pineapple, beetroot, orange, carrot, spinach, red cabbage, lemon
    • Carrot, orange, apple, lemon, beetroot
    • Apple, cucumber, orange, kale, celery, parsley, lemon
    • Mango, pineapple, kale, orange, ginger root,
    • Apple, cucumber, celery, kale, ginger root, lemon.

    Play with the amounts in order to get the taste you like the best, combine ingredients, blend them, and you’ll get nutritious power bomb that will boost your immunity and help you lose weight.

    Conclusion

    Ideally, you should create your birth plan and specify to your health care providers what you want or need. A few weeks before delivery you should get informed about recovery options in the hospital where you will stay at, don’t hesitate to ask for help and make sure you get plenty of rest.

    References

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    http://www.fitpregnancy.com/pregnancy/labor-delivery/what-expect-after-giving-birth-hospital?page=2

    http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/photo-gallery/what-happens-in-the-first-24-hours-after-giving-birth#01

    Featured photo credit: ShutterStock via shutterstock.com

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    Evlin Symon

    Evlin Symon is a health and wellness expert specialized in fitness, weight loss, pregnancy, nutrition and beauty.

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    Published on November 30, 2018

    Signs of Postnatal Depression And What to Do When It Strikes

    Signs of Postnatal Depression And What to Do When It Strikes

    Postpartum depression (PPD) strikes about 15% of women around childbirth.[1] Moreover, this mood disorder is estimated to affect 1% to 26% of new fathers.[2] The causes of which are thought to be linked to hormonal changes, genetics, previous mental illness and the obvious change in circumstance.

    The stigma of mental health – with or without support from family members and health professionals – often deters women from seeking help for their PPD. In this article, I will show you 10 ways to begin overcoming PPD.

    Symptoms of Postnatal Depression

    Postnatal depression is defined as depressive disorder, beginning anytime within pregnancy up to the first year of the child’s life. The symptoms of post natal depression are the same as those of depression. In order to receive a diagnosis from the doctor, 5 symptoms must be shown over a two week period. The symptoms and criteria are:

    • Feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness, nearly every day, for most of the day or the observation of a depressed mood made by others
    • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
    • Weight loss or decreased appetite
    • Changes in sleep patterns
    • Feelings of restlessness
    • Loss of energy
    • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
    • Loss of concentration or increased indecisiveness
    • Recurrent thoughts of death, with or without plans of suicide
    • Lack of interest or pleasure in usual activities
    • Low libido
    • Fatigue, decreased energy and motivation
    • Poor self-care
    • Social withdrawal
    • Insomnia or excessive sleep
    • Diminished ability to make decisions and think clearly
    • Lack of concentration and poor memory
    • Fear that you can not care for the baby or fear of the baby
    • Worry about harming self, baby, or partner

    Should you, a friend or your partner be showing any of these signs, I recommend you to seek medical advice.

    Causes of Post Natal Depression

    It is worth noting here that there is a difference between what is commonly known as ‘The Baby Blues’ and post natal depression.

    Postpartum blues, commonly known as “baby blues,” is a transient postpartum mood disorder characterized by milder depressive symptoms than postpartum depression. This type of depression can occur in up to 80% of all mothers following delivery. The Baby Blues should clear within 14 days, if not it is likely an indicator of something more in depth.

    It is not known exactly what causes post natal depression, however there are some correlating factors. These factors have a close correlation and haven’t been shown to cause PPD:

    • Prenatal depression or anxiety
    • A personal or family history of depression
    • Moderate to severe premenstrual symptoms
    • Stressful life events experienced during pregnancy
    • Maternity blues
    • Birth-related psychological trauma
    • Birth-related physical trauma
    • Previous stillbirth or miscarriage
    • Formula-feeding rather than breast-feeding
    • Cigarette smoking
    • Low self-esteem
    • Childcare or life stress
    • Low social support
    • Poor marital relationship or single marital status
    • Low socioeconomic status
    • Infant temperament problems/colic
    • Unplanned/unwanted pregnancy
    • Elevated prolactin levels
    • Oxytocin depletion

    One of the strongest predictors of paternal PPD is having a partner who has PPD, with fathers developing PPD 50% of the time when their female partner has PPD. [3]

    Ways to Overcome Post Natal Depression

    1. Seek Medical Help

    As knowledge of PPD grows, more and more physicians are becoming aware of the indicators and risk factors. This means that health care providers are looking for signs as early as their first prenatal care visit.

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    If you are at risk, letting your provider know early in your pregnancy means that you’ll be given extra support and care throughout the process. It is best to seek treatment as soon as possible.

    If it’s detected late or not at all, the condition may worsen. Experts have also found that children can be affected by a parent’s untreated PPD. Such children may be more prone to sleep disturbances, impaired cognitive development, insecurity, and frequent temper tantrums.

    2. Therapy

    This is the first line of defence against post natal depression and will commonly be prescribed alongside medication. Around 90% of post natal depression cases in women are treated with a combination of the two treatments.

    You don’t need to do anything special to prepare. Your counselor will ask questions about your life, and it’s important you answer honestly. You won’t be judged for what you tell, and whatever you talk about will be just between the two of you. Your counselor will teach you how to look at some things differently, and how to change certain habits to help yourself feel better.

    Therapy is personalized for everyone, but women in counselling for postpartum depression often discuss topics including; who you’re feeling, your behaviour, your actions and your life. (If you need immediate support please call the San Diego Access and Crisis Line at (888) 724-7240. The toll-free call is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.)

    3. Medication

    There have been a few studies of medications for treating PPD, however, the sample sizes were small, thus evidence is generally weak.

    Some evidence suggests that mothers with PPD will respond similarly to people with major depressive disorder. There is evidence which suggests that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are effective treatment for PPD.

    However, a recent study has found that adding sertraline, an SSRI, to psychotherapy does not appear to confer any additional benefit. Therefore, it is not completely clear which antidepressants are most effective for treatment of PPD.

    There are currently no antidepressants that are FDA approved for use during lactation. Most antidepressants are excreted in breast milk. However, there are limited studies showing the effects and safety of these antidepressants on breastfed babies.

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    4. Communication with Partner

    Don’t blame yourself, your partner, close friends or relatives. Life is tough at this time, and tiredness and irritability can lead to quarrels.

    ‘Having a go’ at your partner can weaken your relationship when it needs to be at its strongest. It can be a huge relief to talk to someone understanding.

    By spending time with your partner doing activities that you both enjoy, like going for a walk, can really help. This change of state, from moving location, can significantly elevate mood whilst providing ‘neutral ground’ in which to open up communication.

    Be honest with your partner and show ways in which they can support you best through this time, even if it’s just talking or letting you have time to go take a shower.

    5. Self Care and Rest

    Don’t try to be ‘superwoman’. Try to do less and make sure that you don’t get over-tired. It’s common that women are the experts at ‘being busy’ and ‘doing it all’.

    Rest whilst the baby is sleeping, and really take time to prioritise yourself. Throughout life, if you’re constantly giving out energy, you will be left feeling unbalanced. It’s important to become aware of one’s energy and making sure to give yourself energy first, before giving out is imperative.

    Your body has just been through the trauma of the birth, which is very stressful. It therefore needs time to recover so taking time to yourself is important. Things as simple as a cup of tea, or shower or listening to music will really help.

    6. Supplementation (especially DHA)

    St John’s Wort is a herbal remedy available from chemists. There is evidence that it is effective in mild to moderate depression. It seems to work in much the same way as some antidepressants, but some people find that it has fewer side-effects.

    One problem is that St John’s Wort can interfere with the way other medications work. If you are taking other medication, you should discuss it with your doctor. This is very important if you are taking the oral contraceptive pill. St John’s Wort might stop your pill working. This can lead to an unplanned pregnancy.

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    It is also worth noting that fish oil (containing DHA) is being shown to correlate with lower instances of PPD. DHA consumption during pregnancy — at levels that are reasonably attained from foods — has the potential to decrease symptoms of postpartum depression,” conclude study researchers led by Michelle Price Judge, PhD, RD, a faculty member at the University of Connecticut School of Nursing.

    7. Movement

    Before starting any exercise program, you should consult with your doctor and find a fully qualified pre and post natal specialist. That being said, there is plenty of movement that can be done prior to ‘hitting the gym’, such as walking.

    Not only does being outside positively benefit you by getting some fresh air and vitamin D. The same is said for your baby, who will likely sleep better once they’ve been outside. Exercise gets your endorphins going, which helps alleviate depression symptoms, It can also get you focused on something for yourself. In an analysis of data from 1996 to 2016, researchers discovered that moms who stayed physically active after birth experienced fewer depressive symptoms.[4] In contrast, one study found women who led a more sedentary lifestyle were, in general, more likely to experience postpartum depression in the first place. [5]

    The type of workout doesn’t matter much. Yoga for pregnant women, stretching, and cardio are essentially equal in terms of making you feel better.

    8. Socializing and Support Groups

    Do go to local groups for new mothers or postnatal support groups. Your health visitor can tell you about groups in your area. You may not feel like going to these groups if your are depressed.

    See if someone can go with you. You may find the support of other new mothers helpful. You may find some women who feel the same way as you do.

    9. Accept Help

    Some cultures believe that the symptoms of postpartum depression or similar illnesses can be avoided through protective rituals in the period after birth. Chinese women participate in a ritual that is known as “doing the month” (confinement) in which they spend the first 30 days after giving birth resting in bed, while the mother or mother-in-law takes care of domestic duties and childcare.

    Whilst this may seem extreme, it’s worth noting that being able to accept help from your friends, partner and family can be extremely beneficial.

    10. Avoid Smoking, Drink and Drugs

    Which may seem common sense, however you may be tempted by the short term ‘fix’.

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    Don’t use alcohol or drugs. They may make you feel better for a short time, but it doesn’t last. Alcohol and drugs can make depression worse. They are also bad for your physical health.

    Final Thoughts

    Most women will get better without any treatment within 3 to 6 months. One in four mothers with PND are still depressed when their child is one-year-old. However, this can mean a lot of suffering.

    PND can spoil the experience of new motherhood. It can strain your relationship with your baby and partner. You may not look after your baby, or yourself, as well as you would when you are well.

    PND can affect your child’s development and behaviour even after the depression has ended. So the shorter it lasts, the better.

    Sometimes there is an obvious reason for PND, but not always. You may feel distressed, or guilty for feeling like this, as you expected to be happy about having a baby. However, PND can happen to anyone and it is not your fault.

    It’s never too late to seek help. Even if you have been depressed for a while, you can get better. The help you need depends on how severe your illness is. Mild PND can be helped by increased support from family and friends.

    Featured photo credit: Derek Thomson via unsplash.com

    Reference

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