After your baby is born - postnatal care
Where will your care be based?
If you have your baby at home, once your baby is born you will stay at home and your midwife will make sure you are comfortable before leaving.
If you have your baby in hospital, immediately after the birth of your baby you will be made comfortable in the Birth Centre or Delivery Suite.
A midwife will examine your baby and check two identification labels with you, before placing them on your baby’s ankles. These labels must stay on during your baby's stay in hospital.
After an hour or so we will either transfer you and your baby to the postnatal ward or you will be able to go home from the Birthing Centre or Delivery Suite.
We offer all babies a full examination within 72 hours of birth, either in the hospital or at home.
On our maternity wards you will be cared for by experienced midwives and maternity support workers. Partners are welcome to visit 24/7. You can find lots of helpful information about feeding, sleep, tests and checks in the early days on the NHS website.
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.
If you have an instrumental birth assisted with forceps, a ventouse delivery or a caesarean birth, the average length of stay is:
- 1–2 days following an instrumental birth
- 2 days following a caesarean birth.
Occasionally you and/or your baby may need a longer stay in hospital.
Your partner/support person is welcome to stay with you overnight.
Community postnatal care
Community midwives (CMW) and maternity support workers (MSW) undertake your postnatal care in the community. This may be either at home or a postnatal clinic.
Your CMW/MSW usually visits you at home the day after you get home from hospital, or the day after your home birth..
A plan for your 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. This newborn screening is to find out if your baby has any of 9 rare but serious health conditions. Early treatment can improve your baby’s health and prevent severe disability or even death.
It is usual to be discharged from Community Postnatal Care at around 10 days after the birth of your baby. 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 5 years old. Health visitors are specialist nurses or midwives who work with families with a child aged 0 to five to identify any health needs as early as possible and promote health and wellbeing.
Do you have any questions about your birth experience?
Having a baby can be an amazing experience. Sometimes though it can be difficult, intense and take a long time. It can be helpful to talk through the experiences of birth in a birth review and this can be arranged for you and your partner or family member if you have questions and would like to understand a bit more about what happened and why.
If you’d like to talk through what happened, please contact our Birth Review service carried out by our Professional Midwifery Advocates (PMAs).
Our PMAs are experienced midwives who will listen to your experiences and can help with the following:
- Discussing your birthing experience, and your feelings around this
- Understanding what happened and why
- We can offer the perspectives of the staff who cared for you and talk through decisions made and why
- We are happy to take on board feedback about your experience. Please note that this is not a complaint meeting. If you wish to make a complaint please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service
- We can also discuss positive aspects of your experience and implications for a future pregnancy and birth.
- We will refer on to others if this is appropriate for example our obstetric colleagues or for other options of post birth support.
Or you can ask your midwife or health visitor to make a referral for you.
Vaccinations during pregnancy and for your newborn baby
You can find up to date information about NHS vaccinations and when to have them on the NHS website.
Find out about our pregnancy vaccination clinics.
Due to falling rates of tuberculosis in London, the need for every baby to receive a neonatal BCG vaccine has reduced.
Babies born in London are only eligible for the BCG vaccine if the answer to any of the following questions is ‘yes’:
- Does your baby, the baby’s mother, father, grandparents or anyone who lives with you come from a country with a high rate of TB?
- Will you and your baby be going to live or stay with friends and family in one of these countries for three months or more?
- Has anyone who lives with you or spends a lot of time with your baby had TB now or in the past five years?
- Do you live in the London Borough of Newham?
For further information go to: BCG vaccine for tuberculosis (TB) overview on the NHS website.