Discharge from hospital

Mother with baby laid on her chest

Discharge from hospital

Congratulations on the birth of your baby.

Before you can return home, our team will ensure that you and your baby are ready and have undergone all of the necessary checks to make sure that you are both healthy and well.

Checks for you

Our midwifery team will check you're recovering well after giving birth, you will be offered the following routine checks:

  • temperature, pulse and blood pressure
  • feel your abdomen to check if your womb is shrinking back to normal size
  • check that you have passed urine
  • Check that any tears, grazes or stitches are healing.

Checks for baby

After giving birth, you will be offered the following routine checks:

  • a thorough physical examination within 72 hours of giving birth
  • an injection of vitamin K for your baby. This helps prevent a rare bleeding disorder called haemorrhagic disease of the newborn
  • a newborn hearing test for your baby before you're discharged – or carried out in baby’s first few weeks.

You will also receive support after the birth

This will include:

  • unhurried skin to skin contact
  • offering the first feed in skin to skin contact and support to breastfeed or bottle feed
  • help to identify feeding cues.

If your baby is born at home, the tests will be carried out at home by a community midwife.

If your baby is receiving special care, these tests will be done in the special baby care unit.

The NHS website features further information on what to expect after giving birth.

Other checks following discharge

Other checks following discharge

  • Every baby is offered newborn blood spot screening, also known as the heel prick test, ideally when they're 5 days old.
  • You'll be offered another physical examination for your baby at 6 to 8 weeks, usually at your GP surgery as some of the conditions it screens for can take a while to develop.
  • Breastfeeding assessments carried out using the breastfeeding assessment form (minimum of two in the first week) and an appropriate plan of care made. This may include referral for additional or specialist support.

What to expect when you return home

Returning home with your new born baby can be an exciting and sometimes anxious time for new parents. We’d like to reassure you that we are here with you every step of the way as you get to know your baby.

Please watch this video about what to expect when you return home after giving birth. We know there’s a lot to take in, so please watch this video at your convenience.  

Video transcript:

MY Maternity - what to expect after birth.docx[docx] 15KB

After you return home, your community midwife will visit you on the first day following your discharge. You’re personalised care plan will be created with your midwife and the frequency of home visits established. 

Please contact Gate 18 on 01924 541 693 if you don’t receive a visit.

What to expect after giving birth

After a vaginal birth, you may experience discomfort and stinging for the first few days. It’s important that you keep the area clean and dry. If you’ve had stitches, you’ll need to bathe them each day to help prevent infection. Painkillers and cold compresses such as gel pads may help ease the pain.

Please contact your midwife or GP if the pain gets worse or you suspect there may be an infection.

  • Vaginal bleeding may be quite heavy at first and continue for up to 6 weeks. It will eventually progress to a pinky brown colour, rather than red. If you're losing blood in large clots, tell your midwife. It’s quite normal to pass small blood clots, your midwife can advise what is within the normal range and if any treatment may be required.
  • Following a caesarean birth, you should begin to see healing within a couple of days, internally this can take a few months. It’s completely normal to experience some discomfort during this time which will gradually ease. Gently clean and dry the wound each day. You may find it beneficial to wear loose clothing and take regular painkillers. Contact you midwife or GP if you think the areas might be infected or if you feel unwell or feverish.
  • After a caesarean birth, it's important not to lift anything heavier than your baby in the first few weeks. This includes not lifting a pram up or down steps, not carrying your baby in a car seat and not carrying heavy shopping.
  • It may be a couple of days before you open your bowels and certain medications may cause constipation or loose stools. Drinking plenty of fluid and eating fruit/fibre may help. You may need some gentle laxatives, however if the problem persists longer than 3 days you should contact your GP for advice.
  • Piles are very common after birth but usually disappear within a few days.
  • We will ensure that you have passed urine prior to discharge, but please let your community midwife know if you have any concerns.
  • After giving birth, it's common to leak a bit of wee if you laugh, cough or move suddenly. Pelvic floor exercises can help to strengthen the muscles around your bladder, vagina and anus. Visit the NHS website for instructions and links to exercise videos.
  • Being active may feel like a challenge when you're tired, but gentle exercise after childbirth can help your body recover and may help you feel more energetic.

Is it something serious?

Following the birth of your baby there are some symptoms that may indicate a serious concern that you should be aware of. Whilst some of these symptoms may be normal after birth it is important that you seek medical attention if:

  • you have sudden heavy bleeding with symptoms of shock such as feeling dizzy or faint
  • feel unwell with a fever and offensive discharge may indicate an infection
  • have a headache which is accompanied by visual disturbances, nausea  or sickness
  • experience pain, swelling or redness to the calf area my indicate a blood clot
  • are having breathing problems, shortness of breath or chest pain

If you experience any of these symptoms you should contact our Triage department on 01924 543006 or dial 999 immediately if symptoms are severe.