Within seconds of your baby being born, as long as you’re both fine, the midwife will place him in your arms while she (or your partner) cuts the cord.
Expect to feel overwhelmed
Along with feelings of elation and relief, you may be in shock, which can cause you to vomit or shake uncontrollably. If this happens, hand your baby to your partner or a midwife until you feel better.
You may be so high on excitement or pain relief that you don’t even notice the midwives weighing and measuring your baby. They will also carry out the Apgar test, to make sure he doesn’t need immediate medical care.
Cuddle him close
If you’re planning to breastfeed, put your baby to the breast. He may not be hungry, and might just snuffle around, but he’ll love the skin-to-skin contact.
Focus on your baby as this will take your mind off your next job: delivering the placenta. Most hospitals will give you an injection to help you push it out. If you tore or had an episiotomy, you may need stitches.
Look after yourself
The bubbly may be flowing, but what you probably want most of all is a cup of tea! If you want to freshen up but are feeling wobbly, ask someone to go with you to the shower and wait outside while you wash. Take a plastic bottle into the loo and pour warm water over your sore bits as you wee, to stop them stinging. Slip a sanitary towel into your pants to soak up the blood and discharge.
Get to know your baby
Once you’re on the postnatal ward, sit on a rubber ring if you’re sore, and if you’re breastfeeding, ask a midwife to help you and check your baby’s latched on correctly.
If you’re both fine, you could be discharged the same day. At home, forget everything apart from putting your feet up and concentrating on bonding with your baby. Exhaustion and raging hormones may make you feel weepy, so don’t feel guilty about having a good cry if you want to: it will pass.
If you’ve had a caesarean, you’ll be kept in hospital for around three days and when you get home, you’ll need extra support as you’ve just had major surgery.
You’ll be home (but not alone)
If you had a home birth, you’ll be visited regularly by a community midwife, and a doctor or specially trained midwife will come and examine your baby within 72 hours of the birth.
Now tell us what worked for you…
What happened to you after your baby was born? Have you got any tips for new mums?