All being well it may be possible to go home a few hours after the birth. If there are any concerns you may stay a day or two. If you’ve had a caesarean, provided your baby is well, you will generally be discharged after around three days.
You will be given your handheld notes to hand over to your community midwife when she does a home visit. You may be given a copy of the letter with details of your baby’s birth for your family doctor (although this may be sent directly to your doctor). You will be provided with instructions on how to register your baby’s birth, which you are legally required to do before they are six weeks old.
Before you and your baby can be discharged:
Unless you can push your baby home in a pram or carry him in the baby sling on the bus, you will need a car seat for your baby suitable for a newborn. Before your baby is born have a few goes at practicing attaching the car seat. Prepare for a slow and momentous drive home as (especially for dads) this is often when it sinks in that you are utterly responsible for the care of your new baby. Most new mums cannot wait to get home from the busy postnatal ward. Make sure that you have planned and got support lined up from your partner and family as the first days at home can be a tough transition.
Depending on your hospital trust and whether or not this is your first baby, should receive a daily visit from your community midwife for about 10 days – or in some areas up to 28 days. She will check that your baby is doing well, ask how feeding is going and make sure you are recovering from the birth. She will weigh your baby at each visit to confirm your baby is regaining her birth weight (most babies lose a bit of weight in the first days after the birth). Write down any questions you want to ask before she comes just in case you forget something. Your midwife can help you with:
When you and your midwife are happy, you will then be discharged her care and passed over to your community health visitor
It can be a shock to try and sit up after you’ve had a caesarean as the muscles you use to sit up have been cut to deliver your baby. However, it’s important to get up and about as soon as you can after the birth, but it’s normal to feel a little shaky the first time you wee, poo or have a shower. At first, you will need to gently support your scar when you do go to the loo or feel a sneeze coming on as it will hurt.
Once the dressing has been removed (usually in the shower), you will need to keep the scar clean and dry (after showers) and look out for redness, puss or signs of infection. Depending on the kind of stitches or staples your surgeon used they may need to be removed after about a week; your midwife can do this when you are back at home.
A caesarean section is major abdominal surgery so be gentle with yourself after the birth. Rest as much as you can. No heavy lifting or hovering and don’t go up and down stairs too much. Check your car insurance as you may not be able to drive for a few weeks.
Postnatal pilates and yoga can help rebuilding your core muscle strength, which is particularly helpful after a caesarean.
These first few days and weeks with your baby are all about bonding, getting to know your baby and learning to be a parent.
It can really exhaust and stress you out if you feel you. We would recommend that you keep things simple, stay in your nightclothes if this helps you, ask family and friends to take over domestic chores. You will quickly exhaust yourself if have to look after lots of guests and get out and about. Stocking up on freezer meals and clean clothes before the baby was born should now leave you time to:
The baby blues are a very common phenomenon where new mums feel overwhelmed, tearful and sad. This tends to happen around three to four days after your baby is born and coincides with a huge drop in progesterone levels in your body (much bigger than that observed around pre-menstrual syndrome to give you an idea of the hormonal change you are experiencing).
You will also be tired and still not recovered from the birth so be kind to yourself at this time. Speak to your midwife or health visitor if you start to feel depressed. These feelings are very common in the tough first weeks with your baby. If you think that your depression is more than baby blues talk to your health visitor or family doctor about postnatal depression.
About five days after the birth, your midwife will do a heel prick test to test for up to nine serious but rare illnesses, many of which can be improved if treated early. The test includes screening for:
If any of the tests come back positive you will be contacted by your doctor. In the USA your baby will be screened for a greater number of rare illnesses, up to 77 conditions and rare diseases. This depends on which State you live in.