Advice and practical tips on colostrum harvesting in preparation for breastfeeding.
Practical steps on how to contact us if you have concerns about your care.
Practical advice if you need to complain about your care.
Expert advice and guidance on how to exercise safely after having your baby.
Useful advice from the NHS on what to expect in the early days after birth.
Useful advice from the NHS on what to expect straight after birth.
Advice about stitches, piles, bleeding and other physical changes after birth, plus tips to help you make a healthy recovery.
PANDAS are available, whatever the weather, to offer hope, empathy and support for every parent or network affected by perinatal mental illness.
If you’re a parent who’s been traumatised by birth, the birth trauma association can help. They have a team of peer supporters: parents who have all experienced traumatic birth themselves and been through a process of recovery.
NHS: What healthcare will we get from the NHS after birth
Advice from the NHS about what to expect after you’ve had a baby.
When you get home with your baby, you will receive support from your midwife up until about day 10, and then the health visiting team take over and will come do a home visit. The health visitor will be checking the baby, making sure the baby’s feeding okay, making sure the baby’s gaining weight and making sure the baby is developing well.
She’ll also be there to help you if you have any emotional or physical needs. You’ll be needing a postnatal check round about six weeks and that’s generally done by your GP in the surgery. Your GP will ask you just regular questions about how you’re feeling, have you stopped bleeding, may want to feel your tummy and to make sure your uterus has gone down to pre-pregnant state but often they just want to have a chat with you to make sure everything’s going okay.
It’s important to register baby at the GP because your GP is really the first line of call for any medical treatment that your baby might need. Your baby will also be due a six to eight week developmental check with the GP and obviously, if your baby is unwell, they will have your baby’s records so when you take your baby there, they know a bit about your baby already.
NHS: What does a health visitor do?
Advice from the NHS about the role of a health visitor.
Health visitors are trained nurses, and a lot of midwives as well, who’ve undergone extra training to become a health visitor. Every family will have a named health visitor. Your health visitor will visit your home between the 10th and 14th day and if all is well, you will be invited to attend the child health clinic.
In your personal child health record book, which is your red book, your health visitor will write in that when she visits. She will put her contact details, she will put her name and how you contact her. Your health visitor can be based at your GP surgery, local health centre or children’s centre. She will talk to you and find out how your health is and what your concerns may be.
The sorts of things the health visitors can help and support you with is anything that you may be concerned about, so your health, your family’s health, postnatal depression and then all the routine baby things that come up: feeding, sleeping, crying, minor ailments, when to see a doctor.
We will also look at the baby’s health and development and we’ll do routine development projects throughout your baby’s life and we will talk to you about immunisation. We run lots of groups, we work very closely with children’s centres and we can put you in contact with lots of other people and resources that can help you and your baby.
We are there for the health of the whole family, so it’s actually mums and dads we’re visiting at home and helping you to adjust to becoming new parents.
NHS: How do I know if I have postnatal depression
Advice from the NHS about recognising the signs and symptoms of postnatal depression.
[Caroline] I wasn’t sleeping very well and I was having quite obsessive thoughts about her sleep and the lack of control because I was very much in control of my life before I had Daisy.
Everything was all to a schedule and I tried to keep her to a schedule and it wasn’t working and then, when she was about eight weeks old I just came to a point where I though, I just had a day, where I just though, I can’t do this anymore and I just couldn’t stop crying and crying and crying and just, I just wanted to run out in front of a bus and when I found out I had postnatal depression I was really surprised because I thought postnatal depression meant that you felt low and that you couldn’t bond with your baby, whereas I didn’t really have a huge problem with bonding with Daisy but I just couldn’t function.
Your heads going a hundred miles an hour like (really fast) non-stop, like, and I just couldn’t stop, I just couldn’t get out of my head and I wanted to itch myself out of my skin because I felt so anxious, and so like (short of breath) all the time. Panicky, yeah, and because I felt like that I was like even more scared because I was like what’s happening to me.
I was very quick to go to the doctors and it was a good thing that I did go to the doctors quickly because the longer you let it fester the worse it can get.
[Jackie] A lot of similar emotions, OCD with cleaning. [Group all agree] Obsessive cleaning, raging, raging temper to then sobbing. Panic attacks were horrendous and I just felt very isolated and ashamed.
[Caroline] Yeah, I felt ashamed.
[Jackie] Ashamed because I’m such a strong character and I’d let everyone down.
[Michelle] You didn’t let everyone down, you know, because we’ve all been through it and we’ve all come out the other end of it. It did take me a good couple of years to get over the whole, you know, coming off the medication and everything.
When I had my last child, she’s now five. I’d come home and that same day I ended up going back into hospital and I had palpitations and they just said it was tiredness. So just to go to bed really. I went to bed, five days later I knew something was wrong.
I could tell myself, I was different. So when my little girl Jasmine was three weeks old I went to the doctors and I just said I don’t feel well and you know I’ve been having these silly thoughts that I’m ill.
[Caroline] Irrational thoughts.
[Michelle] Yeah, really irrational thoughts. The house visitor came out and I did the Edinburgh Scale, the questionnaire, and then she said I had postnatal depression.
[Caroline] I do think people don’t realise really what postnatal depression is.
[Jackie] And how fast it can take hold of you.
[Caroline] It’s so different, everyone’s on their own journey.
[Michelle] I know I’m better now, when, if there’s a little mark or a crumb or something – I can leave it.
[Caroline] Or she hasn’t really had a sleep and I’m alright about it today.
[Group laughing and agreeing]