While the combined accommodation – when the baby stays in the hospital room with the mother – is becoming more and more prioritized, as soon as the baby is born it’ll probably go spend some time in the nursery before being subjected to a series of procedures.
Before that, let’s rewind a bit: as soon as the baby is born, the newborn will receive their first care from the pediatrician who followed the birth right in the birth room. The first step is to clean the secretions from the mouth and nose, cleaning the airways so the child can breathe on its own, for the first time, through the lungs and (finally) let out that intense cry you’ve always dreamed of.
When the umbilical cord stops pulsating, a ligature, a sort of bandage, is done, and then the doctor will conduct the Apgar test. This evaluates the heartbeat, reflexes, muscular tone, skin tone and breathing, besides weighing and measuring the baby. This test is usually repeated after a couple of minutes, to draw more conclusive results.
Afterwards, the baby will be identified with a bracelet around the arm and leg. A footprint is done on a card and the mother will also receive a wristband with hers and the baby’s name. The first time breastfeeding will also happen in the birthing room.
In the nursery, the series of tests continues (see the Important tests and exams for a newborn). Usually, the nursery will have regular cribs, special care cribs, an isolation and phototherapy section and the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). Pediatricians that work in this area are neonatal specialists, which means they’re specially trained to care for neonatal babies, with ages of 0 to 28 days.
As soon as they arrive to the nursery, the newborn is placed in an adequate crib and observed for a period of about six hours. With only three hours of life, the baby gets its first shower. In a single dose, the baby will get silver nitrate or erythromycin eye drops which prevents ophthalmia neonatorum, or newborn conjunctivitis, which can be contracted by newborns during delivery.
Both the mother and baby will have their blood drawn, wherein the results are released the following day. Mothers with Rh negative blood type, who birth babies with Rh positive blood, receive a dose of anti-D immunoglobulin. If there are no contraindications, the mother can stay with the baby inside the room for most of the day. After three days, the hospital discharge marks the beginning of a new phase in life.