Normal Care After Birth

Immediately After Birth

  • Skin to skin
  • Clamp the umbilical cord
  • Dry the baby
  • Keep the baby warm with a hat and blankets
  • Vitamin K
  • Label the baby
  • Measure the weight and length


Vitamin K

Babies are born with a deficiency of vitamin K. Vitamin K is an important part of normal blood clotting. Standard practice is to give all babies an intramuscular injection of vitamin K in the thigh shortly after birth. This can have the helpful side effect of stimulating the baby to cry, which helps expand the lungs. Vitamin K helps to prevent bleeding, particularly intracranial, umbilical stump and gastrointestinal bleeding. Alternatively, vitamin K can be given orally, however this takes longer to act and requires doses at birth, 7 days and 6 weeks.


Skin to Skin Contact

Skin to skin contact involves putting the baby against the mothers chest immediately after birth. This has several potential benefits:

  • Helps warm baby
  • Improves mother and baby interaction
  • Calms the baby
  • Improves breast feeding


Out of the Delivery Room

Once mum and the baby are out of the delivery room, there are a few things to consider:

  • Initiate breast feeding or bottle feeding as soon as the baby is alert enough
  • The first bath is usually delayed until this baby is warm and stable. It can wait days without any issues.
  • Newborn examination within 72 hours
  • Blood spot test
  • Newborn hearing test


Blood Spot Screening

This is a screening test for 9 congenital conditions. It is taken on day 5 (day 8 at the latest) after consent from the parent. A heel prick is used to provide drops of blood. The screening card requires four separate drops. This screens for nine congenital conditions:

  • Sickle cell disease
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Congenital hypothyroidism
  • Phenylketonuria
  • Medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (MCADD)
  • Maple syrup urine disease (MSUD)
  • Isovaleric acidaemia (IVA)
  • Glutaric aciduria type 1 (GA1)
  • Homocystin

Results take 6-8 weeks to come back.


Last updated January 2020