Principles of postnatal care
The postnatal period can be defined as the first 6-8 weeks after birth. Postnatal care should be a continuation of the care the woman has received through her pregnancy, labour and birth and take into account the woman’s individual needs and preferences. It should aim to create a supportive environment in which families will be guided by professionals in how to care for their baby and themselves and be able to recognise and act upon any deviation from the normal (NICE 2006; updated 2015).
Midwifery care may apply for the whole or part of the postnatal period. In the absence of any physical, emotional, social or psychological risk factors or concern, it is anticipated that women will be discharged to the care of the GP and Health Visitor by day 10-14 following birth. It is important that care is planned according to the woman and her baby’s individual needs and these plans communicated to all relevant professional groups that may be involved in her and her baby’s care.
If everything is well with you and your baby and depending on the type of birth you’ve had, you will normally be discharged home between 6-24 hours after birth to the care of the community midwifery team, who will continue to support you in your own home. The first community postnatal visit will be done by a midwife in your home who will discuss and agree with you further visits. You will be given information of who to contact in the event you have any questions or if there is an emergency involving you or your baby.
If you have any questions which are not answered here, please ask your midwife for further information.