Each time you have a postnatal check the midwife will want to check your physical and mental wellbeing. You may be offered basic checks including blood pressure, heart rate and temperature. Your midwife may ask to check how your womb is reducing back into the pelvis.
If you have any concerns about your stitches, or your healing, please say. Your midwife will be able to look at the area to reassure you or to refer to a doctor where needed.
Don’t be surprised if you are also asked some of the following, rather personal questions!
2 in 10 women will experience mental health problems soon after birth or within the first year. At first it can be difficult to know what is normal ‘baby blues’ and what is not. There is support available for those that need it.
Pain may be an inevitable part of a healthy recovery, or it can indicate a problem. By talking through exactly what hurts, how much and when, your midwife can reassure you, or refer you if needed. It is recommended to continue to take pain relief if it has been provided. This helps you to be moving about more, which speeds recovery.
Eating well is an important part of recovering from birth. It can also be a sign of illness or infection if you do not have a good appetite in the days after the birth.
Your midwife may help you if, like most new parents, you are not getting much sleep.
- Your midwife can reassure you that you are not alone and that your baby’s pattern of waking is normal for a newborn
- Your midwife can encourage you to sleep when the baby sleeps and remind you that rest is more important than chores right now.
However you are feeding your baby, your breasts will be adapting to changes. Your midwife will want to pick up any problems that could get worse. Sometimes your midwife will have practical tips to reduce any discomfort.
Your digestive system usually slows right down for birth, and you may not go for a few days. It’s important for the midwife to allow you to discuss any concerns.
It’s important to make sure that you are peeing normally after the birth, especially if you have had a catheter to empty your bladder during labour or birth.
It is also quite common for pregnancy and birth to affect your pelvic floor muscles. This can mean you experience leaks of urine, or a sudden strong need to go. Your midwife will make sure that you are able to squeeze and hold the right muscles to begin to strengthen the pelvic floor again. In most cases this problem will improve quite quickly, but it is important to let your midwife or GP know if not. Specialist physiotherapists are available and sometimes surgery is offered. This is not something you should have to live with.
Your midwife will want to check that you are not losing more blood than is normal for this stage. This could be a sign that part of your placenta or the membranes which held the water may still be in your womb.
It is normal for the bleeding to switch between red, brown, pinkish and clear. The colour or the smell of the blood could indicate there are signs of infection.
Red areas, hard areas or swellings in the legs, can be a sign of a blood clot, particularly if on one side only. Your midwife will check and make sure you are aware of this, as it is more likely just after having a baby. Blood clots in the legs can lead to more serious problems.