Previous obstetric practices separated the child and the mother right after delivery. Even though the ideology of mother and baby-friendly obstetrics is more widely spread today, there tend to be some differences between the practices of each hospital. At some institutes, the baby is put to the breast of his mother immediately after birth and the umbilical cord is not cut as long as it is pulsating or until the mother feels that it is time to entrust the baby to the medical team for the few minutes she needs to be attended to. Whereas at some other hospitals delivery is promptly followed by medical care, and the baby is only put to his mother’s breast after they have been transported to their room.
Dr. Rose Obstetrics is a mother and baby-friendly place to the highest degree: if the newborn’s condition permits it, we put him on his mother’s stomach right away or after wiping him clean and cover him with a blanket. This way the newborn can get used to the new world while still being as close to his mother as possible. At this time, postponing the cutting of the umbilical cord can be considered, but only under constant medical supervision.
The most important task of newborn care besides making the infant comfortable is to make sure that he adapts to his new environment. Therefore after the umbilical cord has been cut and the stump has been attended to, our specialist assesses the child’s health condition, and examines the permeability of the nostrils and the anus. The newborn also receives 1% silver acetate solution eye drops (Credé eye drops) in order to avoid serious eye inflammation from the pathogens that might have gotten into his eye on his way through the birth canal.
The Apgar-test is used to rate the life functions of the newborn on a decimal scale, the examined criteria being pulse rate, respiratory effort, muscle tone, reflex irritability and complexion. Scores are recorded at one minute and five minutes after birth.
Although the Apgar score is an important indicator, it does not determine whether the newborn requires any kind of medical attention after delivery. The test assesses the baby’s condition at one minute; however, if we notice any kind of abnormality concerning respiratory effort, heart rate or complexion earlier, our doctors do not wait even for a minute to intervene.
Following the routine examinations, we measure the baby’s weight, height and head and chest circumference. We can also show the mother how to breastfeed even in the delivery room upon request.
A healthy newborn instinctively starts rooting for his mother’s breast and tries to suck it. The benefit of early bodily contact and breastfeeding is that the baby receives the bacterial flora of the mother first and these bacteria will protect his digestive system and skin from other foreign and more aggressive pathogens. Breastfeeding results in oxytocin secretion in the mother’s body that stimulates milk flow and helps the development of the mother-child bond. The first milk of the mother is the so-called colostrum. These few drops of foremilk prevent a lot of diseases and help the development of the newborn’s immune system.
The colostrum provides protection in numerous ways: helps the operation of the digestive system and the improvement of eyesight. Early breastfeeding is beneficial for the mother as well, as the released oxytocin hormone helps the contraction of the uterus and decreases postpartum bleeding.
The first examinations of the newborn
If there were no complications during delivery, our pediatrician performs the first examinations in 1-2 hours. He checks the heart beat, respiration and pulse near the biggest veins and palpates the abdomen to see whether the internal organs of the newborn are the right size and in the right position. He also examines the fontanel, palate, the external genitals, the hips and the limbs.
Then he tests the reflexes of the baby: the grasping reflex and the Moro-reflex. The latter is the infant’s response to a sudden loud noise or the feeling of falling: he should throw his head back, spread his arms then pull them back to this chest while tightening his fists.
The PKU test is performed in 4-6 days after birth. A blood sample is taken from the heel of the baby and put on filter paper to screen for phenylketonuria, galactosaemia, hipothyreosis and other rare diseases.