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After the Birth

You may have many questions about what happens at BC Women's immediately after the birth of your baby.

Immediately after the birth

Immediately after the birth of your baby:

  • your baby is placed skin to skin with you
  • your baby's health is checked
  • breastfeeding starts very soon after birth
  • your baby is weighed and identification bands are attached to his or her wrist and ankle
  • an antibiotic ointment is normally placed on your baby's eyes within the first hour of birth

You and your baby will normally remain together in the Delivery Suite for about two hours after your baby is born and then moved to a post-birth unit. If you had your baby in the Single Room Maternity Care unit, you and your baby will stay there until you are ready to go home.

Babies who are premature or who have health concerns may be cared for in the Neonatal Intensive Care Nursery (NICU). Parents are encouraged to spend time with their newborn and participate in his or her care.

Care during your stay in hospital

Postpartum care for you and your baby

After your baby is born, you will move to a postpartum room on the 2nd floor of BC Women's Hospital. The BrightStart Bundle, a program to offer private rooms to new moms, is available. 

BC Women’s Postpartum Care program provides supportive care to mothers and newborns in a woman and family centred environment. 

We strongly encourage you to have someone stay with you throughout your hospital stay to support you and help you to learn about caring for your new baby. This support person must bring his or her own pillow, bedding, towels and pajamas.  Nurses help you to learn about newborn care and feeding, as well as the normal postpartum changes in you and your newborn.  

Your baby will stay in your room with you 24 hours a day unless he or she requires extra care. Keeping your baby with you, with lots of time for skin to skin care will help your milk to come in quickly. We provide support for feeding your baby, including information about BC Women's Milk Bank - the only one of its kind in Canada.  

Routine tests and procedures on all babies will be done during the first days after birth. The BC Newborn Screening Program uses a simple blood test to screen for 22 rare but treatable disorders. These tests will be done in your room and you will be encouraged to hold, feed and settle your baby during procedures such as blood tests. You should discuss these tests and procedures with your doctor or midwife.

We value the safety of your newborn after birth.  You can help by never leaving your baby alone. Do not let your baby leave your room with anyone who does not have proper hospital photo identification. Your nurse will discuss this with you.

Most women are ready to go home twelve to twenty-four hours after giving birth vaginally, and 48-72 hours after giving birth by Cesarean Section. Your Doctor or midwife will help you to make a plan for your discharge home with your new baby. The nurses at the hospital sends your information to the health department in your community so a public health nurse can contact you once you are at home.

Our philosophy of care

We respect you and your family’s rights, beliefs and we support families to make the best choices about your health. 
We are committed to postpartum care that is:
  • women and family centred,
  • supportive of pregnancy and birth as a healthy, life cycle event
  • based on best practice and evidence resulting from research
  • comprehensive and holistic in approach
  • provide seamless  care to women and families
  • delivered by multi-disciplinary care teams that are valued, respected and nurtured
Care for your newborn

Caring for your newborn

  • Routine tests and procedures on all babies will be done during the first days after birth. The BC Newborn Screening Program uses a simple blood test to screen for 22 rare but treatable disorders.  These tests will be done in your room and you will be encouraged to hold, feed and settle your baby during procedures such as blood tests. You should discuss these tests and procedures with your doctor or midwife.

  • BC Women's provides support for feeding your baby, including information about BC Women's Milk Bank - the only one of its kind in Canada.
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