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Preparation for Birth

You and your newborn infant in the delivery room and nursery

In preparation for the imminent birth, this information tells you about what tests, treatments and immunizations are performed routinely and constitute part of the overall management of both the woman about to give birth and the infant in the delivery room, in the neonatal and obstetric departments, and in family health clinics.

This information will help you and your partner to understand these procedures and participate in making decisions concerning your and your baby's health.

The expectant mother during delivery

During delivery, a number of procedures you should know about are performed.

Pain relief

If you have taken part in a birth preparation course and/or intend to undergo a natural birth (without medication), you will receive instructions and reassurance from the medical team. There are a number of medicinal methods available for reducing the pain of labor including epidural anesthesia and intravenous analgesics. The hospital staff will be able to advise you about what is best for you.

Episiotomy


In the final stage of delivery, it is sometimes necessary to perform an episiotomy (incision of the vagina) in order to prevent tears in the pelvic diaphragm.

An episiotomy is performed during a contraction and is stitched up at the end of delivery after the placenta has been delivered and after the area has been anesthetized with a local anesthetic.

It should be noted that the stitches dissolve by themselves after a few weeks and there is no need to visit the doctor to have them removed.

Doctor's examination

During your stay in the obstetric department you will be under medical supervision and will be examined by a physician before going home.

The newborn during and after delivery

Breastfeeding/feeding

From a health aspect, breastfeeding is the best way of nourishing your baby, and the team will help you do this. You must tell the nurse in the neonatology department how you prefer to feed your baby (breast or bottle).

Smoking

Your baby will be in a clean, cigarette smoke-free environment in the hospital. It is also important not to smoke near your baby at home.

Doctor's examination

At least twice during his hospital stay, your baby will undergo a general examination by a pediatrician. The first of these is performed soon after birth, and the second prior to being discharged home.

Treatment

After birth, your baby will be given a vitamin K injection to prevent neonatal bleeding disorders, and antibiotic eye drops to prevent the development of eye infections.

Vaccinations given after birth

Hepatitis B - this is a viral disease that affects the liver. It is transmitted by contact with blood and human secretions and is incurable, but it can be prevented by vaccination. Hepatitis B vaccination is given to your baby by injection, in 3 separate doses. The immunization routine is as follows:
  • First injection: this is given in the neonatal ward within 24 hours of birth.

  • Second injection: this is given at the age of one month at the family health clinic.

  • Third injection: this is given at the age of six months at the family health clinic.

Usually there are no special reactions to this vaccination, but a transient local response, such as swelling and redness, may occur.

Blood tests for genetic diseases performed on every newborn baby

The tests performed routinely are for phenylketonuria and congenital hypothyroidism (cretinism). These two diseases are somewhat rare, and their early detection and appropriate treatment may prevent severe manifestations, such as mental retardation. Four drops of blood are taken from the baby's heel in the neonatal department. They are put onto special blotting paper and sent to the central laboratory. In cases that require further investigation, a public health nurse will contact the family at the address given to the hospital.

Blood samples may also be taken from the baby for testing for medical conditions as required and according to the decision of the medical staff of the neonatal department.

Instructions given in the neonatal department

Before you leave the neonatal department, you will be given instructions and advice about care for yourself and your baby in the first days.

Further treatment at family health clinics after discharge from hospital

At family health clinics you and your baby will be followed up, and you will be given advice about various subjects such as growth, development, hearing and vision tests, physician's examination, infant care, nutrition, family planning, and which vaccinations are required.
 
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