The Golden Hour
By: Kayla Zuidersma
There’s this special time right after baby is born that is better known as the “golden hour”. This is the first hour after baby is born. Often your midwife or OB will encourage uninterrupted skin to skin time with your baby for up to an hour after baby is born before doing any routine checks. And if not then I highly recommend you ask for that uninterrupted time.
The “golden hour”, the beauty after the storm.
Ever sit outside on a deck or covered porch and watch a storm roll in? There’s something beautiful that always happens after that storm. If you wait long enough to see the storm end you’ll see the sun begin to peak through the clouds, there’s a fresh rain smell that fills the air and if you’re lucky you’ll see a beautiful rainbow. But this usually only happens for an hour or so after the storm.
When I witness a birth I’m often reminded of that beautiful time right after a storm finishes. The ” Golden Hour.” We call that first hour after birth the golden hour because it is such a precious time.
It’s the moment when one becomes two.
It’s the moment you lay eyes on your baby for the first time. That first breath, the first touch, the sound of a mother’s voice. It’s a moment of peace after a storm.
But why the one hour of uninterrupted skin to skin? Why not wrap the baby up? Give them a warm bath?
You and your baby have been through a lot. And that first hour will look different for everyone. Your baby is used to YOU. Not the bright hospital lights and loud noises. But to the sound of your muffled voice as they floated in a temperature regulated environment with dim lighting and nourishment and oxygen that was being provided to them consistently. Safety and security that was effortless.
Allowing mom and baby to have that uninterrupted hour of skin to skin allows mom to mimic the environment of the womb as much as possible to help with an easier transition into the world. On their mother’s chest they can feel her skin, hear the sound of her heart beating, feel the warmth from her skin, listen to the sound of her soothing voice and even latch for the first time.
Then come the first 24 hours…
The first 24 hours is filled with checks for both mom and baby which is exactly why that first hour of uninterrupted time is so valuable. From measurements and weight checks to blood pressure checks for mom to pad changes and more.
“Has baby tried to latch yet?”
“How many pees or poos have they had?”
“I just need to check your blood pressure.”
“Just going to take a peak at your bleeding so far.”
“It’s time to check that blood pressure again.”
“I’m going to need you to get up and try to go pee for me darling.”
“I just need to check baby for a quick moment.”
“Everything looks great so far.”
Just a few things I’ve heard nurses, midwives and OBs say to a mama who has just delivered. While there can be a lot of checks, many of these checks within the first 24 hours are to make sure mom and baby are thriving.
Images from Google Images
A few checks to be mindful of within the first 24 hours are:
- Vitamin K injection: The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends babies have a vitamin k injection within the first 6 hours after birth to help with blood clotting after birth.
- Erythromycin Eye Ointment: This is an antibiotic given to babies usually within the hour after birth to protect their eyes against infection that can be caused by different forms of bacteria such as bacteria from sexually transmitted diseases.
- Newborn Screening: This is a blood test that screens for 24 different kinds of diseases. The test is done through a small prick of the baby’s heal and a blood sample that is taken.
- Bilirubin Test: This is a blood test that is recommended but not mandatory to check for bilirubin in the baby’s blood. A high level of bilirubin causes jaundice in babies.
- Blood Pressure Checks: It’s very normal to have your blood pressure checked every 15-20 minutes after baby is born for the first hour and then every hour or so after that for the first several hours. This is to ensure moms blood pressure is regulated and not spiking or dropping after birth.
- Empty Bladder: Your care provider will come and ask you to try to urinate. This is to make sure you are able to urinate after birth. Sometimes women who are unable may need help with the use of a catheter.
- Uterine Massage: This is a not so fun massage that is done by your care provider by applying pressure with their hand to the lower abdomen to ensure the uterus is shrinking and remaining in the right location after birth.
It’s important to note that every birth is different and every experience is different. These are just a few of the routine checks that occur within the first 24 hours after birth. I encourage you to follow our social media pages for more information on the first 24 hours after birth. And chat with your care provider about routine checks that occur within the first 24 hours after birth. Understanding the process even after birth will help you make the best decisions possible for you and your baby.
Hey there, my name is Kayla. I am your Niagara Region Doula & Birth Photographer. I live on the beautiful escarpment in Beamsville on our family owned and run farm.
I am a mama of two and currently in the process to adopt our third! I know crazy! Life feels crazy sometimes but that’s all part of the fun right?
I absolutely love birth and babies!! I love the journey into parenthood and the transition along the way. I love how our hearts seem to quadruple in size the second we lay eyes on our baby and how we get to see the world in a whole new perspective as our kids grow and change.
As your Doula & Birth Photographer my goal is to help you have the best birth experience you possibly can. My goal is to eliminate any fears or worries going into birth and help you feel confident and excited to birth your baby.
Let’s chat about how we can make your birth experience the best experience it can possibly be!