Initial health care for the newborn

From the moment your newborn emerges from the birth canal, he or she is the focus of much activity.

Once your baby has been delivered, your health care provider or a nurse likely will quickly clean his or her face. To make sure your baby can breathe properly, the nose and mouth are cleared of fluid as soon as the head appears — and again immediately after birth.

While the baby's airway is being cleared, the heart rate and circulation can be checked with a stethoscope or by feeling the pulse in the umbilical cord. The baby's color can be noted to make sure circulation is normal.

Your baby's umbilical cord is clamped with a plastic clamp, and you or your partner may be given the option to cut it. Then, the moment arrives: You can hold your baby for the first time.

In the next few days, the medical team likely will conduct newborn examinations, administer screening tests and give immunizations. Here's what to expect.

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