Preparing for a journey that takes nine-months can put those resolutions on the backburner that you need to take on your delivery day. However, you are required to take several medical decisions in the very first few hours of your baby's birth that can have a life-long impact on your child's health.
• Delayed cord clamping: It is defined as a birth practise where the umbilical cord is not clamped or cut until after the placenta is delivered. Given the benefits such as improved transitional circulation and decreased need for blood transfusion to most new-borns, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists now recommends a delay in umbilical cord clamping in vigorous term and preterm infants for at least 30–60 seconds after birth.
• Breastfeeding: It is vital to know the process beforehand – what to expect and where to get help when you need it. Dr. Nitika Sobti, Delhi-based gynaecologist and senior consultant suggests asking as many questions as you want regarding the process without hesitation, to avoid any difficulty during breastfeeding.
• Cord blood banking: In this practice, the blood left in your new-born's umbilical cord and placenta (which potentially contains life-saving stem cells), is collected for future medical use. This decision must be made ahead of time (typically at 35 weeks) because the process requires a kit that the companies send to you that you then bring to the hospital to collect cord blood and the tissue. Further, you have to research your options if you want to donate the blood to a public bank for anyone who needs it or pay to store it in a private bank for your family's use.
• Others: Skin-to-skin new-born care, consulting a paediatrician in the very first week the baby is born, antibiotic eye ointment (usually erythromycin), Vitamin K injection and charting a well-planned vaccination schedule are some other pointers that you need to educate yourself before you welcome the new life that you have created and nurtured.