Vitamin K for newborn babies
You'll be offered an injection of vitamin K for your baby. This helps prevent a rare bleeding disorder called haemorrhagic disease of the newborn.
Your midwife should have discussed the injection with you while you were pregnant.
If you'd prefer for your baby not to have an injection, they can have vitamin K by mouth instead, but they'll need further doses.
Stitches for tears or cuts
Small tears and grazes are often left without stitches because they usually heal better this way.
If you need stitches or other treatments, you should be able to carry on cuddling your baby.
If you have had a large tear or an episiotomy, you'll need stitches.
If you have already had an epidural, it can be topped up. If you haven't, you should be offered a local anaesthetic to numb the area.
Your midwife or maternity support worker will help you wash and freshen up before you go to the postnatal ward.
Preventing bleeding after the birth
Postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) is a rare complication where you bleed heavily from the vagina after your baby's birth.
There are 2 types of PPH, depending on when the bleeding takes place:
- primary or immediate – bleeding that happens within 24 hours of birth
- secondary or delayed – bleeding that happens after the first 24 hours and up to 6 weeks after the birth
Sometimes PPH happens because your womb doesn't contract strongly enough after the birth.
It can also happen because part of the placenta has been left in your womb or you get an infection in the lining of the womb (endometritis).
To help prevent PPH, you'll be offered an injection of oxytocin as your baby's being born. This stimulates contractions and helps to push the placenta out.
Now read about you and your body after the birth.