The Miracle of Birth

Having a baby will impact your life in so many ways. The fact of the matter is that it is also an incredible change for your baby. All he has known is the peace and warmth of your womb. Now, he must adapt to this brand new world, which is totally foreign.

Immediate Care
Once your baby is delivered, your healthcare provider will remove the fluid from his mouth and nose with a bulb syringe. This will allow your baby to take his first breath. He will then be wiped off with a clean towel to keep him from getting cold. This drying is also a good way of stimulating the baby to give a good cry. If your baby does not cry, do not worry. Some babies will take a bit of time to let out that first cry.
It is important to have contact with your newborn as soon as possible after birth. This contact will enable you to learn about your baby, while allowing him to learn your scent and the sound of your voice. Skin-to-skin contact is significant emotionally as well as physically and is very reassuring for both you and your baby.
When you and your infant are resting skin-to-skin, you will begin to learn about each other on many different levels. For you, the first minutes and hours after birth are a time when you’re open emotionally to bond with your baby and begin the new relationship. At the same time, your newborn is ready to accept his new family and his brand new world.

Apgar Score

At birth, your newborn will be scored on how he is transitioning to his surroundings outside of the womb. He will be scored on 5 different areas, (as noted below) once at 1 minute after birth and again at 5 minutes. This is the first “test” your baby will have and it is called the Apgar Score.

Skin Color Blue in color Body pink, feet and hands are blue Baby is pink
Heart Rate Absent Under 100 beats/minute More than 100 beats/minute
Breathing Absent Slow or irregular Good or crying
Muscle Tone Limp Some tone Actively moving
Reflex Response None Grimace Sneezing or coughing

The Apgar Score was named after Dr. Virginia Apgar who devised this way of assessing a newborn immediately following birth. This was the first consistent method for evaluating the newborn’s transition to life outside the womb. The score was presented in 1952 at a scientific meeting, and first published in 1953. This assessment tool is now used throughout the world.

For each area scored your baby will be given a 2, 1, or 0 on each of the above 5 responses. A score of 2 means that your baby has a healthy response to the area scored and a 0 means he is absent of a response. You may hear your nurse say “Apgar Score of 7 for first minute after birth and 9 for 5 minutes after birth.” Some scores will be higher, some scores will be lower. This depends on how well your baby is adapting to his new environment. Your infant may need closer observation or his airway cleared. A score of less than 5 usually suggests that your baby may need oxygen, additional monitoring or other special care. This may feel like a scary time, but once the healthcare team works with your baby you may see that score rise. A perfect score is a 10, but most babies score between 7-10. The score will be written as 7/9 meaning the 7 represents 1 minute score and 9 is the 5 minute score.