Postnatal period

If you have your baby at home you will stay at home, and your midwife will make sure you are comfortable before they leave.

If you give birth in hospital or the midwifery led unit, immediately after the birth of your baby you will be made comfortable and the midwife will assess whether you need any additional care.

This may be because of a problem with your blood pressure, blood loss or trauma to your perineum (the area between your vagina and bottom). Your baby will be weighed and examined by the midwife and a label will be checked with you before placing one on your baby’s ankle, and one on their wrist. The label must stay on during your stay in hospital. If it comes off please tell a member of staff so it can be replaced immediately.

After an hour or so, you and your baby will be transferred to the postnatal ward. If you want an early discharge, you will stay on the delivery suite/midwifery led unit for around 4 to 6 hours before being discharged.

All babies will be offered a full physical examination within 72 hours of birth either in hospital or at home. This is called a newborn infant physical examination (NIPE).

On our maternity ward you will be cared for by experienced midwives and support workers. Partners and family are welcome to visit.

How long will you be in hospital?

If you have a straightforward birth you may choose to go home soon after the birth of your baby – usually 4 to 6 hours.

If you have an instrumental birth or caesarean birth the average length of stay is 1 to 2 days. This is very much dependant on your wellbeing and that of your baby.

There are occasions when a mother and/or her baby may require a longer stay in hospital. This will be based on your individual needs.

Community – Postnatal Care

Community Midwives (CMW) and Maternity Support Workers (MSW) undertake your postnatal care in the Community.  This may be either at home, at the midwifery led unit or a postnatal clinic.

It is usual to receive a home visit by your CMW/MSW the day following your transfer from hospital. Your further plan for postnatal care will be agreed between you and your CMW/MSW to meet your individual needs.

All babies require a blood spot screening test on their fifth day.

It is usual to be discharged from Community Postnatal Care at around 10 days following the birth of your baby. If you need enhanced postnatal support this will be arranged with you. Your Health Visitor will contact you during this early postnatal period and arrange a visit. They will be your continued contact until your baby is five years old.

Postnatal schedule of care

Visit One – The first visit by the community midwife is on the day after you leave hospital. Both you and your baby will be examined to ensure you are both well. Your physical and emotional wellbeing will be discussed and also baby’s feeding patterns. Please take this opportunity to ask any questions or share your worries and concerns.

Please register your baby at the GP as soon as possible.

Visit Two (day 5) – As well as checking you are well, the midwife or maternity care assistant will weigh your baby and take the Newborn Screening blood test.

Visit Three (day 9/10) – The midwife will check your physical and emotional wellbeing and weigh your baby. Your midwife will discuss with you:

  • postnatal exercises
  • registering the birth of your baby
  • contraception
  • the six to eight week postnatal check for you and your baby with your GP
  • any other concerns you may have

If all is well the midwife will transfer you to the care of the Health Visitors.