After Your Delivery
The hard work of labor and delivery is now over. What happens next?
After thoroughly checking you and your baby, and giving you time to recover, your Baptist Health team may move you from the Labor & Delivery unit. In most cases, you and your baby will stay in a nearby postpartum (after birth) care room for the rest of your hospital stay. You’ll stay in the hospital for up to two days if you had an uncomplicated vaginal birth and up to four days if you underwent a Cesarean section (C-section).
After Your Delivery: The Baptist Health Difference
Our personalized approach to care continues after your baby has arrived. Your postpartum experience at Baptist Health includes:
- Care from dedicated mother & baby specialists: Our nurses specialize in working with moms and babies. Many of them have attended extra classes to earn special certifications in obstetrics and newborn care. They’re well prepared to help you and your baby make the transition to life after pregnancy.
- A focus on keeping moms and babies together: Baptist Health knows that your baby’s health and your health are closely intertwined — even after birth. That’s why we focus on keeping you and your newborn together as a “couplet” (two-person team). In most cases, the same nurse will care for you both. We also support “rooming in” (keeping your baby in your room rather than a nursery) and kangaroo care, which is skin-to-skin contact between parents and babies.
- Advanced care for babies who need extra assistance: It’s reassuring to know that if your newborn develops health problems at or after delivery, specialized help is immediately available. Our neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) are always ready to provide emergency care for your little one.
- Compassionate postpartum support: We know you may have questions about your recovery, caring for your baby and learning to breastfeed. Our nurses offer reassuring guidance as you get ready to go home.
Taking Care of Mom
Having a baby is a major health event. Your Baptist Health providers will keep a close eye on you, the new mom, while you’re with us. We’ll regularly check your temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. We’ll also check your uterus and massage your belly to help reduce bleeding.
You’ll most likely stay in a private postpartum room. Depending on the Baptist hospital where you give birth, your room may include a reclining chair or cot so your partner or support person can nap or stay the night. Family togetherness is important after a baby is born.
As soon as we confirm that you’re stable, you can probably get out of bed and move around. You can even take a shower if you’d like. It’s important to have a nurse, partner or other person standing by while you shower until you feel comfortable on your own.
Don’t hesitate to tell us what else you need to feel comfortable. Are you:
- Hungry? Not surprising, especially if you had a long labor. Let us order you food and beverages from the Baptist Health food service team.
- In pain? Talk to your health provider. He or she can help you find some relief with ibuprofen, hot packs and more. If you’ve had a C-section, we may give you intravenous (IV) pain medication to help with pain as your anesthesia wears off.
- Ready to breastfeed? One of our Baptist lactation specialists can help you get started. If you’re not breastfeeding, we can offer advice on how to care for your breasts until your milk dries up on its own (usually within about a week).
Bonding with Your Baby
We know you want to hold your baby, uninterrupted, as soon as possible. We make a point to let you and your baby snuggle for about an hour after delivery.
One of the best ways to bond with your little one is skin-to-skin contact. This practice is called “kangaroo care” and it has health benefits for both of you. Learn more about why Baptist Health supports kangaroo care and why it’s helpful for babies and new parents.
Afterward, we’ll do a few health tests as part of our newborn care services.
We know your family and friends are excited to meet your new little one. Check with your Baptist Health location for their visiting hours and policy about young visitors. Keep in mind that we try to promote “quiet time” each afternoon. This visitor-free time is so you can rest and spend some uninterrupted time with your baby.
Posting Photos in our Online Nursery
We make it easy to share baby photos with friends and family members who can’t visit. It’s up to you whether you’d like your baby’s picture posted on our online nursery. The service is free. Pictures are posted within 72 hours after your baby leaves one of our hospitals.
Feeding Your Baby
Breastfeeding is a natural way to nourish your new baby. Our certified lactation specialists and trained nurses are here to help you get started and coach you throughout your hospital stay. Our experienced team can also troubleshoot if you have difficulty breastfeeding or give you tips on the basics of bottle-feeding.
The first few weeks after you have your baby are called your postpartum period. During this time, it’s not uncommon to feel tired, sometimes overwhelmed and just plain uncomfortable with the changes occurring in your body as it recovers.
Your Baptist Health nurses will offer instructions on how to care for yourself and your new baby at home. You should also make an appointment to see your midwife, doctor or nurse practitioner between two and six weeks after you deliver. That’s a good time to talk about birth control and other post-birth issues.
Don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your provider even before that follow-up appointment. For instance, you may need extra help with breastfeeding and we can refer you to a lactation specialist.
And this is very important: It’s normal to feel a bit emotional in the weeks after having a baby. However, if your “baby blues” last more than a few days, or you are thinking of hurting yourself or your baby, call your Baptist Health provider or 911 right away. Postpartum depression (PPD) can be a very serious condition, and our specialists can advise on treatment options.
Getting Ready to Go Home
We’ll work with you to make your transition home from the hospital as smooth as possible. We’ll do a few last-minute health checks on you and your baby. We’ll also give you some tips on caring for your baby at home.
Are you going home but your baby is staying in the hospital for further observation or care? If so, we’ll help you get information about visiting and/or staying in another hospital room for a short time, if your hospital allows it.
Before you go home, you’ll also need to:
- Fill out baby’s birth certificate: Even if you haven’t yet decided on your baby’s name, you’ll need to complete this form. We’ll provide the paperwork.
- Make an appointment with baby’s primary care provider: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends a checkup for your baby between two and five days after birth. We also need your doctor’s contact information while your baby is still in our hospital, in order to complete required tests and immunizations.
- Prepare your car seat: Every state requires your baby to sit in a rear-facing infant car seat in the back seat of your vehicle when you leave the hospital.
Maternity Classes, Tours and support groups
Maternity and childbirth classes at our facilities cover a variety of topics: Pregnancy, labor, delivery and the overall postpartum experience, including newborn care, feeding and infant CPR during childbirth. There are classes for grandparents, expectant fathers and siblings as well.