Postnatal care

Bath area (BaNES)

If you have an uncomplicated birth, you can expect to go home in three to six hours. If you need to stay in hospital after you give birth, you will be: 

  • Offered a bed on Mary ward if you gave birth at Bath Birthing Centre or one of the community birthing centres in Chippenham or Frome and require on going Postnatal observations. 
  • If on-going feeding support is required we have a specialist infant feeding team available to facilitate an individualised care plan 

Our Community Midwives also provide postnatal care in various settings for example in your own home, your local birthing centre or a Children's Centre in your community. 

If your midwife or maternity care assistant comes to visit you at home please make sure you have your wifi code available as they will need this to complete your electronic records 

Swindon area

If you have an uncomplicated birth you can expect to go home after around 6 hours. If you need to stay in hospital you will be offered a bed on Hazel Ward. After discharge you will receive on-going postnatal care from our community team.

Maternity Services: Antenatal and postnatal inpatient care

(GHW)

Maternity Services: Antenatal and postnatal inpatient care

(GHW)

 
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Emotional wellbeing: how will I feel?

It is normal to feel very tired and emotional in the first few weeks or months after having your baby as well as feeling overwhelmed. Try not to expect too much of yourself in the first few weeks and try to limit the number of visitors you have to allow you time to rest in the day.

The wellbeing plan is a two-page plan, endorsed by NICE, that helps you start thinking about how you feel and what support you might need in your pregnancy and after the birth. It is your decision whether to share it with anyone else:

My pregnancy & post-birth wellbeing plan

My pregnancy & post-birth wellbeing plan

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Reducing the risk of a blood clot

A venous thrombosis embolism (VTE) refers to the formation of a clot within veins. This can occur anywhere in the venous system but mostly occur in the vessels of the leg (giving rise to deep vein thrombosis (DVT)) and in the lungs (resulting in a pulmonary embolism (PE).

A VTE is uncommon in pregnancy or in the first 6 weeks postnatally. It can occur at any stage in pregnancy but the first 6 weeks following birth is the time of highest risk, with the risk increasing by 20-fold.

Risk factors include:

  • previous VTE or thrombophilia (a tendency to form blood clots)
  • obesity
  • increased maternal age
  • immobility and long-distance travel: Air travel and pregnancy 
  • admission to hospital during pregnancy 
  • other existing health problems such as heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease and pre-eclampsia

After your caesarean

After your caesarean birth your blood pressure, pulse and breathing rates will be monitored regularly. This is to check you are recovering from your anaesthetic and the birth.

Following the birth of your baby you will be monitored and will then return to the postnatal ward after a few hours.

If you are well and have no problems, you should be able to eat and drink. Have some snacks ready, to help keep your energy levels up, as you may arrive on the ward between meal rounds and need something to nibble on while you wait. Your midwife will advise you about when it is safe to do so. 

You will have a tube in your bladder to keep it empty (catheter). This will be removed once you are walking. 

You'll need to use maternity pads after your caesarean, because you will have some bleeding from your womb (lochia), just as you  would after a vaginal birth, although the blood loss may be lighter. 

Going home after a caesarean birth

The average length of stay is 2-3 days, but some women go home after one night in hospital. 

When you go home, you should take regular pain killers for as long as you need them. When you're home, you should continue to take regular pain killers. There are many things that you are advised not to do including: 

  • Lifting anything heavier than your baby - Unfortunately, this includes your toddler, if you have one, so it's a good idea to encourage your toddler to get used to climbing onto your lap for cuddles while you're still pregnant.
  • Driving a car - You may not feel well enough to drive for up to six weeks after your caesarean. If you feel able to drive sooner, discuss it with your GP or consultant and contact your insurance company to ensure that your policy covers you in the event of an accident. 

Sudden movements are likely to make the pain feel more acute so take your time. Movements that involve stretching upwards will be difficult for you for a while, and strenuous jobs around the house are off-limits. Ask people for help whenever you need it.  

If you feel unwell in the week or so after surgery, it may be a sign of infection. Although this sounds alarming, it is common, even though you will have had antibiotics during the operation. However, having an infection may mean you need to be readmitted to hospital. 

We encourage you to start gentle postnatal exercises the day after your operation. This will help speed up your physical recovery. Please see the leaflet on the blue tab below. 

Take it gently. Most women wait until their six-week check before starting any exercise that is more intense than going for a walk with your baby. 

Regaining your fitness after giving birth

Regaining your fitness after giving birth

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Family Planning Association Resources

Family Planning Association Resources

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Separation of the Abdominal Muscles

During pregnancy  your abdominal (tummy) muscles may have become separated in the middle. This is called diastasis recti, or divarication.

The amount of separation can vary and things will usually go back to normal by the time your baby is 8 weeks old.

If the gap is still obvious 8 weeks after the birth, contact the GP as you may be at risk of back pain /problems or poor posture. The GP can refer you to a physiotherapist, who can give you some specific exercises to do.

More information (NHS)

More information (NHS)

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Postnatal exercise

It might be the last thing on you mind but starting or re-starting exercise after the birth of your baby can help your body recover after giving birth, keep you fit and also help you to relax by giving you some time to yourself.

Exercise guidance

Postnatal Exercises

Postnatal Exercises

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Exercise Classes (Bath area)

(BaNES)

 

Exercise Classes (Bath area)

(BaNES)

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Exercise Classes (Wilshire)

Exercise Classes (Wilshire)

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Separation of the abdominal muscles

(diastasis/ divarification)

Separation of the abdominal muscles

(diastasis/ divarification)

 
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Advice for Mother-to-be and new mothers

(POGP)

 

Advice for Mother-to-be and new mothers

(POGP)

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