Once your baby has been born, we will continue to care for you both and help you to get to each other. In preparation for returning home, we will provide general after birth care and support for you both (called postnatal care) including:
- Baby feeding support and advice
- Full newborn examination prior to leaving hospital
- Follow up care will be organised by your local community midwife
Once you have your baby, our dedicated team of midwives and infant feeding advisors will provide you with one-to-one support to help you feed your baby.
It can take a while before you feel confident, especially if you are breastfeeding, but help is available from your midwife, health visitor or local breastfeeding support group.
If you have your baby in our delivery suite or one of our birth centres, your midwife will make sure you and your baby are both comfortable immediately following your birth. They will support you to have skin-to-skin contact with your baby if you wish to do so and will support you with feeding during this time.
Your baby will be examined by the midwife and two name labels will be checked with you before placing them on your baby’s ankles. Your baby will also have a ‘baby charm’ placed on one of their ankles to maintain their security throughout their stay. The two name labels and ‘baby charm’ must stay on your baby during your stay – let your midwife know if any of them fall off at any time.
Postnatal care following delivery at a birth centre
If you have your baby in one of our birth centres, you will remain on the birth centre following the birth of your baby. Your midwife will arrange for your baby to have a full examination, called the Newborn and Infant Physical Examination (NIPE), from 6 hours after your baby’s birth.
Following this, your midwife will discharge you from the birth centre the same day if you are both ready to go home. If you or your baby require any further monitoring or tests, you will be transferred to our postnatal ward.
To discuss postnatal care at the Barking Birth Centre, please call 020 8252 8281.
How long you and / or your baby have to stay in hospital after delivery depends entirely on you as individuals. Our team will keep you updated on when you are likely to go home, but broadlly speaking:
- If you have an uncomplicated vaginal birth, at our centre you may choose to go home soon after the birth of your baby, usually the same day.
- If you have an assisted vaginal birth, the average length of stay is 1 day.
There are occasions when a mother and/or their baby may require a longer stay in hospital, but this will be discussed with you by your midwife at the time. If you or your baby need additional care or suport after birth, then we can refer you to our colleagues in Newham Hospital.
Community midwives and maternity support workers will provide your postnatal care when you go home. They will visit you at home and will ask you to attend your local postnatal clinic too.
Your community midwife will visit you at home the day after you go home from the hospital or birth centre. They will conduct a full postnatal check for you and your baby and can support you with feeding at this time. Your postnatal plan of care, including your subsequent visits or appointments, will be agreed between yourself and your community midwife to meet your individual needs.
Postnatal checks in the community
Every baby is offered a newborn bloodspot test (NBBS) on day 5 after birth. This is sometimes called the heel prick test. Your baby will also be weighed at this appointment. Your community midwife will discuss all of this in more detail with you at the time.
If you have your baby at our birth centre, their hearing test will be carried out in the community by a community midwife, once you have been dischrged.
Discharge and follow up
Your community midwife will discuss with you when you want to be discharged from the maternity service, this is usually around 10-14 days after your birth. If you want to see the midwife for longer, we can provide care up to 28 days following your birth.
Your midwife will discharge you the care of your health and your GP. Your health visitor will contact you following your birth and will come to see your baby around 14 days after your birth. They will be your continued contact until your baby is 5 years old.