What do doctors do with babies after birth?

Answered by Edward Huber

After a baby is born, doctors and healthcare professionals follow a specific protocol to ensure the well-being of both the baby and the mother. Immediate newborn assessments are conducted to determine the baby’s health and to provide any necessary interventions. These assessments typically include measuring the baby’s weight and length.

Weight is an important indicator of a baby’s growth and development. It helps healthcare professionals monitor the baby’s nutritional status and overall health. By weighing the baby immediately after birth, doctors can establish a baseline weight and track any changes over time. This information is crucial for determining whether the baby is gaining weight adequately or if any interventions are necessary to support their growth.

Length, on the other hand, provides insights into the baby’s physical development. Measuring the baby’s length helps healthcare professionals monitor their growth and ensure they are reaching the appropriate milestones. By comparing the baby’s length to standard growth charts, doctors can identify any potential issues or abnormalities early on.

In addition to the assessments, doctors also administer certain medications to newborns shortly after birth. These medications are typically preventive measures to protect the baby from potential infections or complications. For example, newborns are often given eye drops or ointments to prevent eye infections that can occur during delivery. They may also receive a vitamin K injection to promote proper blood clotting.

Another important aspect of newborn care is the first bath. Traditionally, the first bath was performed in a separate area of the hospital. However, many hospitals now encourage parents to be involved in this special moment by allowing them to give their baby their first bath in the comfort of their own room. This practice helps foster bonding between the parents and the baby and allows them to actively participate in their baby’s care right from the beginning.

One of the most significant practices in recent years is immediate skin-to-skin contact between the baby and the mother. This practice, also known as kangaroo care, involves placing the baby directly on the mother’s chest after birth. This skin-to-skin contact offers numerous benefits for both the mother and the baby. It helps regulate the baby’s body temperature, stabilize their heart rate, and promote breastfeeding initiation. It also enhances the bonding between the mother and the baby, creating a nurturing and comforting environment for the newborn.

Furthermore, placing the baby skin-to-skin on the mother’s chest helps stimulate the release of hormones such as oxytocin, which plays a role in milk production and maternal-infant bonding. The baby can hear the mother’s heartbeat, which is familiar and soothing to them as it reminds them of their time in the womb. Additionally, being close to the mother’s breast encourages the baby’s natural instinct to breastfeed, making it easier to initiate breastfeeding successfully.

The immediate care given to newborns after birth involves a thorough assessment of their weight and length, administration of necessary medications, the option for parents to participate in the first bath, and the practice of placing the baby skin-to-skin on the mother’s chest. These practices aim to ensure the baby’s well-being, promote bonding between the parents and the baby, and support the initiation of breastfeeding. By prioritizing these aspects of care, healthcare professionals strive to give babies the best possible start in life.