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How Long After An Unmedicated Birth Can I Hold My Baby?

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When I was pregnant, I wasn't a big planner. All I knew was that I wanted an unmedicated birth and that I wanted my labor and delivery to progress as naturally as possible. Although I got the complete opposite (hello C-section), I'm hoping my original birth plan can come to fruition with my next baby. Because not getting to hold your little one until you're in recovery? It sucks. But how long after an unmedicated birth can I hold my baby? Is it immediate or is it a lot like a C-section and requires patience?

Things are a little different when you have an unmedicated birth. The University of California San Diego Health System noted that if you and baby are both well, your baby will be given to you immediately so you can have skin-to-skin contact and begin to bond — this can also be incredibly beneficial for breastfeeding. In fact, according to the UC San Diego Health System, if you had a C-section, you could also make a request to have skin-to-skin contact immediately.

Parents also noted that if you and baby are both OK, your baby will immediately be placed on your chest with their umbilical cord still attached. After a few moments, your baby will be taken away to be weighed, receive any injections, and have their little bodies looked over to make sure everything's OK. Once all of this is done, your baby is wrapped up and given back to you. This is when you can attempt to breastfeed if you're ready to do so.

Still doesn't sound like enough time with your baby? According to Fit Pregnancy, you can request that instead of having baby taken away soon after delivery for testing and cleaning, you keep baby close to you for a little bit longer. Apparently the first hour after delivery is when your baby is most awake and alert, so many new moms like to spend that time bonding with baby rather than having the nurses attend to them. Again, this is something you need to bring up with your doctor as all hospitals have different routines and policies. Nearly everything, however, can be put off until after that first hour, as long as baby is healthy. Baby Center even noted that the Apgar test, an assessment done at one minute after your baby's birth and again at five minutes, can be completed while your baby rests on your belly.

Whether you use that first hour to hold your baby or not, you'll get to hold your baby soon anyway. While whisking your baby away to the nursery used to be the standard, more hospitals are promoting that mothers and babies room together. Once your little one has been evaluated, you can have your baby stay in your room with you so you can get all the snuggles you want. With an unmedicated birth, you won't have to worry about someone handing you the baby because you can't walk or sleeping off any medication — you can just fully embrace holding your bundle.