There are several things that will happen once the baby is born when you are at a hospital- several of these things are not done routinely at a home birth. A great resource for looking at evidence based medicine is here
Separation From Mom
Suctioning of the Nose and Throat
Vitamin K Injection
Erythromycin Ointment in the Eyes
Visits to the Nursery
Cord Cutting– Some will decide to delay the cutting of the cord…others will not be concerned about cutting it right away. But you get to decide unless the baby is born with problems and needs immediate attention. There are concerns that if you clamp and cut the cord too soon you are actually robbing the new baby of the blood that can be beneficial to him or her. You may want to consider looking at these sites: www.cordclamp.com
You may also want to consider cord blood banking- but some will say you are saving cord blood for a unknown need while robbing the new baby- but the cord blood banking I recommend is one that has services through four different banks- www.alphacord.com
Separation From Mom– Many times it is difficult to keep the baby and mom together. Routine procedures are customarily done in the baby warmer. Why? Because that is easier for the nurses doing the procedures. But often times when we ask if many of those procedures can either be delayed or done by the mom on the bed, they can be done there. There are concerns that what is best for mom and baby are not being considered the utmost of importance. But we find that if the baby is put directly on the mom Skin to Skin immediately after the birth, the baby bathes the breasts in amniotic fluid- a substance that the baby has been drinking for nine months- so it makes the breasts a familiar taste. The mom is hot from pushing so it is easier to keep the baby really warm if the baby is placed directly on the mom. The baby and mom immediately begin their bonding process.
Suctioning of the Nose and Throat– This has become routine. It may be necessary if the baby has had a bowel movement in utero and has therefore a risk of meconium. But we find that if the baby is squeezed out- especially over an intact perineum- the natural hymlic maneuver is done. Often times a baby can clear their own fluid- especially if the baby did not get any medication via the mom during the labor. Perhaps we should consider this instead of a routine procedure it should be done as a as needed procedure instead.
Vitamin K Injection- This is done for blood clotting enhancement. This is needed if you are planning on circumcising your son. (That is a different subject- one you may read about in other articles in this blog.) but it is rare for a baby to actually have blood clotting problems- hemorrhagic disease. You may want to read about the occurrence of this here http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/974489-overview . Again it is routine- but you can decline it. There are no known problems with giving it except the injection itself. Research it and make a decision for yourself.
Erythromycin Ointment in the Eyes– This is routinely done although it is specifically for the treatment of genital chlamydial infections in pregnancy that the baby may be exposed to during the labor and birth. So if you know you do not have chlamydia why is this given?
Bath– An infant does not hold its temperature very well in the first eight hours. But often times a bath can help clear the baby of fluid since it cries a lot during the bath. But consider how a newborn may feel taken from his or her mom and then being put in a warmer to cry and get cold. But they will warm the baby up under the warmer- hmmm- could you just wait til the baby is a bit older- say nine hours old and then bathe the baby yourself. Perhaps this can become a new family tradition. After all- how dirty are most babies when they are born? The baby is wiped off a great deal at birth and the vernix that is on the skin will help keep the skin in great condition.
Visits to the Nursery – Often procedures that are done in the room of many hospitals are being done in the nursery more now. It is a staffing issue. It takes less employees if they can do it while the baby is in the nursery. But when the baby is out of your sight and arms, some procedures can be done that you did not desire. There has been a recent situation where a woman’s baby was given to another mom and she breastfed the baby before anyone realized she had the wrong baby. Yes situations like this are rare to be sure, but if the baby never leaves the mom and or dad, this never would have happened. If the baby has to go, send the partner with the baby. Often times the infants that are accompanied are returned quicker to the mom. But I have had moms never have their babies leave them- and so it can be done.
The most important thing to consider is what is right for you and your baby. It does not matter if it is routine- is it what you want? After all- this is your baby! So do your research- figure out what works for you and then ask for them to honor your desires.