Minimum Hospital Stay After Childbirth UK

Discussion between you and the health professionals will be carried out regularly to agree and update a personalised plan of care for you and your baby. Your postnatal stay will be appropriate to you and your baby’s individual needs. The maternity team work together with you to get you and your baby well enough to go home as soon as possible.

Caring for you and your baby

The postnatal wards are staffed by midwives and maternity support workers. Obstetric doctors, neonatologists (doctors who specialise in babies), advanced neonatal practitioners, anaesthetists and physiotherapists visit the wards regularly to review you and your baby. They will explain and keep you up-to-date with you and your baby’s care.

Each day, whilst you are in hospital, a midwife will discuss your plan of care with you and examine you when necessary. They will be looking after your physical and emotional health. The midwife will be assessing things such as your blood loss, checking your stitches or caesarean wound. Your dressing will be removed after 24-48 hours.

You will be asked how you are feeling emotionally. This is a good time to discuss any worries you have about you or your baby, or if you are feeling low in mood. It is really important to let the staff know how you are feeling so that you can be given the best possible care and the most appropriate support.

Medicines on the ward

We provide pain relief regularly for you depending on your needs. Some women may require more pain relief than others, and it’s very important that you tell your midwife if you are not coping well with the pain as this will make your recovery more difficult.

The midwives will need to know if you are taking any regular prescription medications. Please bring these with you when you come into hospital. Please hand these medications to the midwife on arrival to the Maternity Unit so they can be recorded.

Some women are advised to have a 10-day course of anti-coagulants (drugs that prevent blood clots). We will give this to you by injection and show you how to continue the injections when you go home. Any other medicines that are prescribed during your stay, such as antibiotics, will be given to you to take home.

Support with feeding your new baby

We will help you to care for your baby and give you the information you need so that you feel confident when you take your baby home. Care will include things like showing you how to care for your baby’s skin, check their colour and tone, look after the cord, how to change nappies and how to dress your baby.

We practice keeping your baby close to you as this will help you both get to know each other, promote bonding, and help you to recognise feeding “cues” when your baby is hungry.

All staff in all the Maternity Units are trained to support mums with breastfeeding and formula feeding. Support will be given with your chosen type of feeding, to make sure you feel confident about feeding your baby when you go home. If you are struggling with this and need more help, ask your midwife for extra support.

If you choose to formula feed your baby, you need to bring in a starter pack of your chosen milk with you as we don’t provide it. If you need a longer stay in hospital, ask staff about sterilising facilities so that you can use powdered formula and your own bottles.

Newborn and infant physical examination (NIPE)

All babies have a full examination within 72 hours of birth to make sure they are adapting to their new life. This will be carried out by either a doctor, advanced neonatal practitioner or midwife trained in this examination. You can be present for the examination and are welcome to ask any questions or raise concerns you may have about your baby. The best time to complete the check is when your baby is quiet or asleep.

The examiner will pay particular attention to the skin, head, eyes, ears, heart, tummy, hips, spine and genitalia.

It is helpful if you can get your red child health book ready for the examiner to complete. Your health visitor will give this to you when they visit you towards the end of your pregnancy, but don’t worry if you don’t have it yet as it can be filled in later if necessary.

Occasionally babies will need to be separated from mums for medical procedures such as x-rays or specific tests. We will minimise this time as much as possible and keep you fully informed.

Keep us all healthy

All hospital staff are trained in infection prevention and control, so we ask that you and your visitors regularly use the hand gels on the wards, especially when entering and leaving areas.

Flowers and plants are not permitted on the Maternity Ward.

Soap and water should be used before handling food, preparing feeding equipment, after changing your baby’s nappy and after going to the toilet.

We ask that friends and family don’t visit for at least 48 hours if they have had diarrhoea and/or vomiting.

Safety on the wards

The maternity units are locked to maintain safety for everyone. We ask that you don’t let anyone in and out of the units.