Your postnatal care

When you and baby get home, you will continue to get support from your local midwives until around day 21-28 when your local health visiting team will take over in supporting you and your baby. Find out more about your local care teams.

If you need additional support, you can call your midwife or health visitor at any time and leave a message if they’re not currently available, so they can get back to you. If you don’t get a response, it’s best to call Labour Line on 0300 3690388.

The first 28 days

Some of your postnatal appointments will be held at home, and some will take place in hospital, in a Children’s Centre or elsewhere in the community. Some women and babies will need more appointments, this will be discussed with you if they are needed.

Within 24 hours of having your baby, you will usually be discharged home from hospital, unless there are medical reasons that mean you and / or your baby need to stay a bit longer. Feeding support will be ongoing and the smoking cessation team will offer you support too if you need it. There are other support agencies that we can refer you to if needed, such as the counselling team.

Your first contact after you have been discharged from hospital will be from a local midwife. This will either be a telephone contact or a home visit. We will review and update your care plan that was started during your pregnancy, as your needs may have changed. This ensures you’ll receive the most suitable care and support to keep you well, physically and emotionally, while you are adjusting to parenthood.

Day 2-4

Between days 2 and 4, the midwife or maternity support worker will visit you at home when you need it.

The midwife or maternity support worker will also discuss how you are feeling in yourself, and how you are coping with your new baby. Don’t be afraid to be honest about anything you’re finding difficult. They will discuss how well your baby is feeding and give you advice if you have any problems or concerns. Your chosen way of feeding your baby will be discussed and support given with this. Your baby may be weighed during this period.

Your team midwife will make phone contact with you too, to make sure you’re okay.

Day 5

Every baby is offered a newborn blood spot screening, also known as a heel prick test, ideally when the baby is 5 days old.

You will be visited on day 5 by a member of the team. Your baby will be weighed at this visit and, with your consent they will complete the newborn blood spot screening test, also known as a heel prick test. The test involves taking a blood sample to find out if your baby has 1 of 9 rare but serious health conditions. Find out more at NHS UK.

Day 6-20

Between days 6-20, visits by your midwife/maternity support worker will be flexible according to your personal needs.

Day 10-14

Between days 10 and 14, your health visitor will visit you at home. They will update your personalised care plan, weigh your baby and give you information on baby immunisations.

Day 21-28

Between days 21 and 28, your local midwife will arrange to see you to discuss your baby’s progress and weigh them if necessary. This visit will give you time to talk through your labour and discuss anything you didn’t understand or that is still worrying you. Your midwife can signpost you to other local teams for support if needed. Contraceptive advice will also be offered at this visit.

Your health visitor will receive a copy of your care plan from your midwife so that your planned care will continue.

Mums should have a postnatal check at around 6 weeks after your baby’s birth to make sure you feel well and you are recovering properly. Find out more and what to expect at NHS UK.

More about follow-up appointments for mum and baby.

Cervical screening

Cervical screening is one of the best ways to protect yourself from cervical cancer. Cervical screening checks the health of your cervix. It’s not a test for cancer, it’s a test to help prevent cancer. If you missed your last cervical screening, you do not need to wait for a letter to book an appointment.

If you are due for a cervical screening test while pregnant, this should be rescheduled for 12 weeks after the birth. Being a new mum can be a very busy time but It is very important that you do find the time to reschedule your appointment, so please contact your GP.

Find out more information about cervical screening.

Postnatal mental health

It’s important to reach out and talk to someone if you are struggling with your mental health. Your midwife or health visitor will be able to offer you support and advice. They may suggest speaking to your general practitioner (GP) about possible treatment. You can find lots more information about your mental health and emotional wellbeing here.

You can self refer to Steps 2 Wellbeing if you think some counselling may help, and it might be helpful to read more about postnatal depression on the Wessex Healthier Together website.

Dorchester have a postnatal padlet with information about the postnatal period.