Updated on February 10, 2009
S.K. asks from Englishtown, NJ
7 answers

My name is S. and I moved from the Netherlands to America. I'm pregnant and I'm going to deliver my child here in the US. In my country things go very differently from the way things are handled here, I realise that when I read all the pregnancy magazines. I wanted to follow some Lamaze classes to get some more info, but they won't let me in whitout my husband, and since we don't know anyone here we don't have a babysitter for our son.

I gave birth to my first son at my own home, witch is normal in the Netherlands. Now, because of some complications, I have to give birth in the hospital. Can somebody please tell me what I can expect: during and the first hours after delivery. I'm not talking about the medical things of delivery, but about the routine things that are normal (during and after delivery) in a hospital in America.

Some of my questions are:
Do they take the baby away from you after he's born?
Can the father stay with the baby during checks?
When can you go home after a normal delivery?
If you have to stay, does the baby stay with you in your room?
How does it work with painmedication?
Do they wash the baby after birth?
Can the father cut the umbillical cord?
I also read all kinds of things about a birt plan, what is that and what do I do with it?

But I'm interested in all kinds of things around this topic, so I can go into delivery somewhat prepared.

What can I do next?

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answers from New York on

Hi S.,
I think you got answers to most of your questions, but I just wanted to add a comment about pain meds. If you end up with a c-section and are on IV pain medication, once they take you off the IV, you have to ask for pain meds when you need them, don't wait too long. They never told me I had to ask, so once I did I had a lot more pain to deal with which caused other problems.

Hopefully that advice will be completely unnecessary, but I added it just in case.

Also, different hospitals have different types of delivery and recovery rooms. It's nice if your hospital has private rooms for you after your child is born, then your husband (and maybe your son) can stay in the room with you, and you only have to deal with people you know, instead of another new mom's family and friends as well. The hospital you deliver in is usually determined by the one your OB is affiliated with so you can find this out ahead of time. They have tours for expecting moms.

Lastly, there are some Lamaze classes where they do one 4-hour session. This might be a better option so that both you and your husband can attend.



answers from New York on

My advice - hire a birth doula! If you can't afford one, find a student doula who will work with you for much less. These women are well trained in supporting women through hospital births. They are not medical professionals, but will help you personally and emotionally. Keep looking for other birth classes - or insist they let you go alone. There is no Lamaze law stating that your spouse has to be there. The hospital you choose can also greatly affect your experience - some are more supportive of natural birth, while others push you into making bad choices. I also had my child at home (in the US), so I very much understand the concerns you have being forced to now give birth in a hospital! Please send me a private message if you want to talk more.



answers from New York on

1)Do they take the baby away from you after he's born?
You can request that the baby stay as long as possible. Sometimes they must take the baby for a short time though.
2)Can the father stay with the baby during checks?
Yes...You can go as well if you're feeling up for it.
3)When can you go home after a normal delivery?
You can stay most places, in NJ up to 48hrs. I'm not sure how short you have to stay.
4)If you have to stay, does the baby stay with you in your room?
I highly recommend the baby staying with you..I had both of my kids stay in my room with me. I loved it.
5)How does it work with painmedication?
If you want it get it...if not don't. I did both..My first I had an epidural and the second I went all natural. I perfered natural..
6)Do they wash the baby after birth? Yes...I think you can ask them not to if you want the "stuff" (not really sure what it's called) rubbed into their skin. It's suppose to be really good for their skin.
7)Can the father cut the umbillical cord?
8)I also read all kinds of things about a birth plan, what is that and what do I do with it?
It's what you write about with regards to how you would like the birth to go. Like a C-section if all other options are out. No pain meds...the baby staying with you in your room....things like that.
Good luck!!!!!!!!!1



answers from New York on

To answer your questions:

1) Most hospitals leave the baby with you-they'll take him or her long enough to wash the baby and make sure he or she is OK (Apgar scoring, etc.).

2) I don't see why Daddy can't stay with the baby during checks.

3) You can go home after 2 days after a normal delivery.

4) Again, most hospitals here in NJ room the baby with you.

5) I had an epidural, but before I got that (the anesthesiologist was busy with another woman in labor when I was ready for the epidural), I was given this lovely drug called Stadol, which let me sleep! With the epidural, they turned it down so I could feel what was happening, but no pain during delivery.

6) Yes, they washed my daughter in front of me right after she was born, on the other side of the delivery room. They scored her, too.

7)My husband did cut the cord, yes.

8)I didn't write up a birth plan; I just stressed to every OB in my practice that I didn't want a C-section unless it was absolutely necessary, and that I wanted an epidural-those were the only things I was concerned about.



answers from New York on

Hi S.,
We moved here a few years ago from Europe. I'm not sure where you are but I'm in NJ and having a baby here was a completely different experience than my firstborn in Switzerland.
As everyone else has said, hospitals differ....but from what I've heard it's generally a given that your baby will be taken from you not long after you've given birth to be bathed etc. etc. For me this was heartbreaking but everyone I spoke to clearly thought that I was a bit strange for being upset that they would take her for about 2 hours....the attitude seemed to be 'whats her problem'. Anyway, I was told there was no way that they would change their minds on this so I gave up. My husband could and did stay with the baby for about an hour, after which he came back to check on me saying that she was sleeping happily in the nursery but they wouldn't bring her to me until they were happy to do that which was after about another hour.
In the hospital I went to, you stay in 48hrs after you check in...not 48 hours after you give birth. I arrived at 7am but didn't give birth until after 10pm so I was told to check out 33 hours after giving birth. I believe that if I had wanted to I could have checked out earlier than that if my baby was doing fine.
There was no problem at all with my baby staying with me for as long as I liked in my room.
For me, pain medication was given on demand. The only different thing from my Swiss birth experience was that here they asked my husband to leave the room for 15 minutes while they gave me the epidural.
I'd recommend that you look up about Birth Plans. You can get a lot of examples on-line. Personally I didn't write one.
I wish you the best of luck with your pregnancy and birth experience. I also wish you the best of luck with your settling into the US. It's never easy to move to another country but it definitely gets easier and more fun with time. I also worked before moving here and then went to being a full time Mom. It took about a year before I realised that I'm so unbelievably lucky to have the job I have today, Mom to two wonderful girls and expecting my son in June.
All the best,



answers from New York on

Best advice I can give you is to go to the hospital were you will give birth and talk to the nurses and staff in the Labor and Delivery area. They will tell you first hand what the answers are to your questions. Every hospital is a little different.

Good Luck!



answers from New York on

S. -

Every hospital/doctor is different, but I can answer you based on my experiences (I have three kids).

Do they take the baby away from you after he's born? They take the baby away to put them under a lamp, clean them up, weigh them, do the APGAR score, etc. They usually will let you hold the baby either right away if all is well or after they are done cleaning them up. Then depending on how the baby's doing, they'll take the baby for a short period of time to run some preliminary checks to ensure all is okay. The time varies though - with my first, she was away for 3 hours as her temperature was very low - they put her under heat lamps and it took a while for her to warm up before I was able to get her.

Can the father stay with the baby during checks? Yes, absolutely. Every hospital has different rules on the amount of people allowed in the delivery room, but I've never heard of them not allowing anyone in the room, especially the father. If you get an epidural, they may ask the father to step out while it's inserted though.

When can you go home after a normal delivery? For a normal delivery, they usually release you after 2 days (assuming you are recovering okay and it was a vaginal delivery).

If you have to stay, does the baby stay with you in your room? This depends on the hospital. There are some hospitals that allow you to have the baby in a bassinet in your room. In that case, it's up to you whether you want the baby with you or in the nursery. With my third, I chose (at night for the first night) to have the baby in the nursery for the time in between feedings (I was nursing), so they would bring the baby in when he was hungry and then I could rest for an hour or two before the next feeding.

How does it work with painmedication? I'ts your choice whether or not you want them.

Do they wash the baby after birth? Yes, absolutely.

Can the father cut the umbillical cord? Again, depends on the doctor/hospital, as well as the state of the baby after the baby is delivered. IF there are issues with the baby, then there likely won't be time. IF all goes well, the doctor should ask you. My husband cut the cord on the first two of our children. HOwever, with our third, the doctor didn't even ask and just cut it. This is something that you can and should discuss with your doctor before delivery.

I also read all kinds of things about a birth plan, what is that and what do I do with it? I think it's just so that you're prepared and know what to expect from the doctor and the doctor from you. I believe you'd include in it whether or not you want an epidural (medicine), who's in the room with you, if you want the father to cut the cord, etc.

I hope this information helps you out. Best of luck getting situated in the states and with the rest of your pregnancy!!

- K. :)

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