Your stay in hospital can be anything from four to six hours post birth, up until two to three days. Certain circumstances may require you to stay in hospital for longer, and this can be discussed with your team.
Newborn hearing screen
Your baby may have his/her first ‘newborn hearing screen’ prior to you going home. This test identifies the very few babies (one to two) in every 1,000 with hearing loss in one or both ears. Having this test now provides early access to services to improve long term child development, should they be needed. If this test isn’t done in hospital, you will be given an appointment to have it done within three weeks of birth.
All newborn babies are offered a ‘top-to-toe’ examination within 72 hours of birth. This includes screening tests to assess eyes, heart, hips and in boys, testes. This is performed by a specially trained midwife or a neonatal doctor, ideally before you go home. This check is important as it screens for rare, but serious conditions.
Your wellbeing and follow-up care
Your midwives will:
- perform several checks on you before you go home
- arrange any medication you may need to take with you
- check how well your baby is feeding and talk through the things you can expect once at home.
Once you and your baby are ready to go home, your midwives will arrange for a community midwife to visit/contact you within the next two days. They will also give you some important paperwork, including the Personal Child Health Record (or ‘red book’).
Your community midwife and health visitor
After you leave hospital, you will be seen at home and/or in postnatal clinics by a community midwife. This midwife will come from your closest maternity unit, which may not be the one in which you gave birth – therefore please confirm the contact details with your midwife in the hospital prior to being discharged home.
You can expect your community midwife to visit you within 48 hours of being discharged from the hospital. It is important that you contact the community midwifery team if you do not receive this visit as there are important checks that must be completed for you and your baby.
Your community midwife will explain the pattern of visits that you can expect, and provide information on your local services. Your community midwife will normally refer you to a health visitor between 10-28 days following birth. You can expect to hear from your health visitor 10-14 days after birth in order to arrange your first appointment. Your health visitor will provide services until your child goes to school.
You will need to register your newborn baby at your GP surgery as soon as you have a birth certificate.It is important to do this as early as possible so that you have access to care if and when you need it. In some circumstances (such as requiring urgent care) you can register the baby with the GP with your baby’s NHS number.
You need to make an appointment to see your GP six to eight weeks following birth. This appointment is for you and your newborn baby, and is an opportunity to check how you are after birth. Your GP will also conduct some routine checks on your newborn. If you were due to have a smear test just before or during your pregnancy, this needs to be scheduled for at least 12 weeks after birth.
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