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As an expecting mother, you may feel like your preparation for the big day may never end. If you are expecting your second child, you may already know the drill.

Whether you are giving birth to your first child or not, knowing what to expect when you get to the hospital can eliminate some of the mystery and doubt about giving birth.

Newborn Examinations

The first thing that new mothers can expect is for their baby to undergo a full newborn examination within 24 hours of birth. This is often described as a head-to-toes examination of your baby, making sure each body system is functioning appropriately. 

Your doctor will check baby's head shape and their soft spots of the skull, examine the face (including eyes, ears, nose and mouth), listen to baby’s lungs and heart, check the abdomen for any masses, check movement of the arms and legs, check the skin for jaundice or rashes and check to make sure baby’s reflexes are present and appropriate.

This examination can be performed by your pediatrician or an on-call associate at your hospital. If you have not yet selected a pediatrician, your baby will be managed by a staff pediatrician at your hospital.

Screening tests

All newborns have routine tests prior to discharge, including screening for hearing problems, heart disease and metabolic disorders.

Breastmilk – your baby's first immunization

A mother’s breastmilk is sometimes referred to as a baby’s "first immunization" as it provides essential substances that help protect a baby after birth. Lactation consultants will work with you and your baby to help you both with breastfeeding.

Your newborn will be given a Hepatitis B Vaccine before leaving the hospital. 

Male babies

If your baby is male and you are interested in getting him circumcised, that will usually be done during the hospital stay.

Newborn weight

It is normal for your baby to have some weight loss after birth, and also some jaundice- the yellow tint to the skin. Before you are discharged, however, the degree of weight loss and jaundice will be checked to make sure it is safe to send you and baby home.

Baby’s first checkup

It is recommended in most cases that you follow up with the pediatrician within 48 to 72 hours of discharge, to check on baby’s weight, jaundice level and feeding progress. 

Watch Dr. Bendlin's "What to Expect While in the Hospital" Video

Emily Bendlin, MD

Methodist Physicians Clinic - Gretna

Dr. Bendlin loves working with kids and their parents. She has always enjoyed caring for kids.  "I've always liked medicine, but more importantly I've always liked kids," Dr. Bendlin said. "During my pediatric rotation it was the 'aha' moment. It was so fun and I was so excited when I went home. I knew at that time this is it for me – pediatrics is where I’m supposed to be." According to Dr. Bendlin, "Working with kids is fun. What other ...

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