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After the birth

After the birth
Although the emphasis during pregnancy tends to be on preparing everyone for the birth, the truth is that much of the real work begins once labour ends!

Once baby has been delivered safely, you will probably want to go and tell the family. Before you do, however, you may want to let your partner know how proud you are of her and spend time talking to your new baby – there is no time like the present to start bonding.

Your partner will probably be tired and need rest, particularly after a long and protracted labour. Shielding her from over-zealous relatives may be a good idea until she feels ready to have visitors. You can also provide an extra set of ears when hospital staff is discussing important information with her. Keep in mind that childbirth leaves a woman both mentally and physically exhausted.

Depending on how complicated the birth was, your partner might need a hospital stay to recover from stitches or other complications. At this stage, she will need lots of fluid to help her kidneys eject the extra body fluids her body has been carrying. Keeping a steady supply of her favourite liquids within easy reach and encouraging her to drink as much as possible are very constructive ways to help.

It is likely that your other half will be uncomfortable, nervous, and weepy over the next few days. This is known as the ‘baby blues’ - a time of physical, psychological, and hormonal adjustment. Be patient with her and offer a sympathetic ear during this difficult transitional time.

Baby will need to have a number of different routine tests performed. This is perfectly normal, so do not be alarmed. However, do not be afraid to ask any questions you may have.

If the birth was straightforward and without complications, mum and baby may be allowed to return home quite soon. If this is your first child, a midwife can offer suggestions on how to be helpful during those first days at home.

Adjusting to a new routine and sharing in postnatal care are worth the effort in the long term. Being involved with your baby’s care relieves stress, fosters bonding, and eases the transition from couple to family.

Allow family members to help with meals, shopping, and chores so that you can both concentrate on baby and get some sleep in between feedings.

It is also important to look for signs of postnatal depression in your partner. Many women feel a sense of failure if they admit being overwhelmed or sad and may conceal their true emotions from others. A caring and sympathetic attitude gives her permission to ask for help if she is struggling.

Your lifestyle is going to change dramatically, so be prepared to put aside hobbies and friends for a while until you all feel a little more settled into your own routine. Be considerate and patient when it comes to sex. Labour and night feedings have a tendency to take a toll on a woman’s libido!

Looking after yourself will also be critical in helping you cope over the coming weeks and months, so you would do well to eat properly, avoid excess alcohol, and make the most of those opportunities go to bed early wherever possible!

Above all, enjoy your time together as a new family, without doubt becoming a Dad is the most amazing thing you will ever do in life and the most rewarding!

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