The Midwife dose a general check looking at the baby’s colour (looking for signs of jaundice) eyes, skin condition. She will check the umbilical cord to make sure there are no signs of infection and advice you of the appropriate care. You will be asked about your baby’s feeding; how often and for how long they feed. The Midwife will also check to see the baby is peeing and pooing. It is a good idea to write down when your baby feeds, pees and poo’s as you can see a pattern developing and it makes it easier when you are asked these questions. The Midwife will be able to assess your baby’s well being and be able to advise/ support you on care.
The Midwife will check how you are getting on and be able to give advise with any concerns you may have. The first weeks are very busy and tiring so it is important to look after you. You can do this by ensuring you eat a balanced diet, which is especially important to recover from the birth and for breastfeeding. Resting when the baby sleeps during the day will also help you to catch up on sleep lost during the night. She will check the uterus is involuting i.e. returning to its non-pregnant state. She will assess your bleeding and advise what is "normal". It is common to have a heavier blood loss after breastfeeding as the hormone released to expel the milk also works to contract the uterus so aid the involution. Breasts care. Whether you choose to breastfeed or not, you will still need to take care of the breasts. The Midwife will be able to advise you and give you support with feeding your baby. Perineum care. Depending on your birth you may have sustained some grazing or a tear/episiotmy. The Midwife will assess the healing perineum and give practical advice to assist the healing process. Caesarean sections. The abdominal wound will be checked daily to assess the healing. It is important to remember that a caesarean section is major abdominal surgery and you will need to reframe from lifting and driving for a period of approximately six weeks to assist the healing process. Discuss this with your midwife. Bladder care. After the birth you may experience some stringing when passes water. This is quite usual, as the urine will string a grazed/stitch perineum. Best to drink plenty of water as this will dilute the urine so it dose not string so much, or you can pour a jug of warm water over the area when you pee or pee in the bath. Important to start practising your pelvic floor exercises after the birth. This will help to improve your bladder control by strengthen the muscles.
This is the name of the operation used to deliver the baby through the abdomen. An elective caesarean may be recommended for reasons such as a very low placenta, breech presentation etc. Alternatively an emergency caesarean may be recommended if either mother or baby condition indicates during the labour. Usually you would have an epidural anaesthetic when you would be awake for the operation. It is less common to have a general anaesthetic when you would be asleep for the operation. In both instances the procedure is the same, you will have a drip in your hand and a catheter inserted into your bladder. But in the case of emergency caesarean section the preparation will be more hurried and this can be frightening. It is good idea to talk to the midwife and/or doctor involved in your care so you fully understand what was done and why," debriefing".
Is a cut made between the entrance to the birth canal and the rectum. It is done just as the baby is born, either because you are likely to tear or because the baby needs to be delivered quickly because its showing signs of distress. A local anaesthetic can be injected into the site prior to the episiotomy to numb the area. Episiotomies are not a routine procedure and are only preformed if circumstances indicate.
It may be that you need help delivering your baby. This may be because of maternal exhaustion, fetal distress or it could be the baby is not in a difficult position to deliver and therefore need assistance. Ventouse/suction cup is as it suggests a cup applied to the baby’s head. Suction is then applied to the cup allowing the doctor to pull on the handle and deliver the baby. Babies delivered in this method may have a slightly swollen/bruised head for a day or two from the suction cup. Forceps are metal spoon like instruments which when applied to the baby’s head allow the doctor to deliver the baby quickly. The baby may have a forceps mark on its head for the first few days where the forceps where applied.
Your birth plan can help inform those caring for you in your pregnancy and labour if you have particular wishes and customs to be upheld. This is especially useful if you have not met the midwife looking after you during labour. Birth Plans are both individual and personnel to you and your partner, and there is no right and wrong way to write them. It is important to remember your birth plan is a guide and things may not always go the way you had anticipated, so keep an open mind. When it’s your first baby you do not know what you want or even what’s on offer. Parent Education /Antenatal Classes will enable you to make an informed choice about particular issues important to you and your partner. There are many courses /classes on offer, your local Maternity Unit will offer Antenatal Classes or you can access private classes run by Active Birth Teachers or NCT (National Childbirth Trust) etc.
Each Maternity Unit Varies in terms of the size and services offered. It’s best to discuss with your G.P. the services in your area. Antenatal Care can be shared between the Obstetrician and /or the Midwives and the G.P. This schedule of care will be discussed with you on your first visit and will also depend on your medical/ obstetric history. Providing everything remains normal throughout your pregnancy and labour you will be cared for entirely by the midwifery staff. However, if you required additional assistance obstetricians, anaesthetists and paediatricians would be readily available. After the birth of your baby you will be transferred to the postnatal area, where a team of midwives and support staff will look after you both. Most mothers and babies stay in hospital for one to two days following delivery. However it is possible to go home as soon as six hours after the birth, providing you are both well.
You may be able to opt to give birth in a Birth Centre/ Unit where a team of Midwives/Community Midwives will look you after, and occasionally your G.P. Birth Units may be part of the local Maternity Unit or a separate entity. The advantage of this option is that the Unit is more personal than a large hospital creating a more home-like environment. Here a midwife you would have met during your pregnancy will deliver your baby. There is also the back up of specialist hospital services should it be needed. If your pregnancy is uncomplicated with no obvious risk of complications during labour, then you may want to opt for this type of unit. However, Birthing Units are not as widely available as we would wish, so speak to your G.P. about the facilities in your local area.
Giving birth to your baby at home has many advantages. You will be in familiar surroundings, which enables you and your partner to feel in control of your environment and therefore more relaxed It’s best to speak to your G.P./ Midwife if you are interested in having a home birth. Providing your pregnancy has been uncomplicated and you have no medical conditions or previous problems in labours, then you should be able to have a home birth. Most hospital policies say that two Community Midwives should be present at the time of birth. Some G.Ps may attend the birth instead of a second midwife. If a problem were to develop during the labour the midwife would have the backup of the local Maternity Unit.
If you would rather a more personnel approach to your care you may consider employing an independent midwife. Independent Midwives are self employed, fully qualified midwives who work independently from the NHS. An Independent Midwife will provide your antenatal care, deliver your baby either at your home or hospital and provide your postnatal care. Dependent on the package of care provided fees range from £2000 to £5000. You can obtain a list of Independent Midwives who practice in your area from the Independent Midwives Association.