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Navigating Your Baby’s First Hour Of Life (In-Hospital)

Updated: May 29, 2023

Baby’s First Hour

Let's discuss what happens during your baby’s first hour of life and the choices you can make when planning newborn care. So let's get started:

Your Baby is Born…

Rubbing and suctioning:

Usually, your nurse will suction and vigorously rub baby immediately after birth. While this is typically standard if your baby is born via clear fluid and begins breathing independently, the WHO recommends against routine suction. The WHO also recommends against routine suction if the baby was born through meconium if they start breathing independently. You can read the WHO's recommendations on suctioning here.

Cord clamping and cutting:

At most DMV hospitals, it is standard to do delayed cord clamping, defined as 60 seconds after the birth of the baby's head, which follows the WHO guidelines. The other option is to request delaying cord clamping until the cord stops pulsating. I recommend reading the American College of Nurse Midwives' Position Statement on Delayed Cord Clamping and DONA’s evidence resource for doulas on delayed cord clamping.

Routine Newborn Care Procedures:

Next, it’s time for routine newborn care procedures. Standard newborn care procedures include weighing and measurement, APGAR testing, administration of eye ointment, vitamin k shot, newborn screening, and hepatitis b vaccination.

If the baby has breathing issues, meconium present, or prolonged water rupture, your provider might require that baby go to the warmest to be assessed. However, you can ask that after the baby is assessed, they are immediately returned to you, and all other procedures are delayed until after the first 1-1.5. Meanwhile, if all is well with the baby, you can request to delay all newborn procedures until right before you go postpartum. (usually 1.5-2 hours after birth) You can also consent to have all Newborn Care Procedures completed immediately.

Our next blog post will do a detailed rundown of evidence-based resources on newborn care procedures.



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