Information and Advice for a postnatal mum going home


Prior to going home, you and your baby will receive a full examination to assess if you are both well. After resting, and if no problems are identified, preparations will be made for your transfer home from the maternity unit, this can occur 6 hours after delivery. The maternity unit will liaise with the community midwifery team in your area to arrange ongoing postnatal care in your home.

It is essential that the midwife has your correct discharge address and contact telephone number as arrangements will be made for postnatal care to be continued with the community midwife in your area.


Before going home, you will receive:

  • A letter to be given to your community midwife when she visits you for the first time after the birth. This letter contains information relating to your pregnancy, birth and postnatal time in the maternity unit.
  • If you are going home with your baby, a Personal Child Health Record (Red Book) will be given to you, which will become a record of your baby's health, growth and development.  You can record details in this book as well as any health professional caring for your baby.  This book is your property and it is essential that you take it with you to all of your baby's healthcare contacts.  Your health professional will be able to guide you regarding the contents of the red book.
  • Contact details of how to communicate with the community midwifery team who will be caring for you in your home.  You can expect to receive a visit before 3pm on your first day at home from the community midwife.  If this has not happened, you will need to contact the hospital by ringing 028 90633802 or by contacting the ward - Ward Telephone Numbers
  • A list of common problems for mother and baby and who to contact if any of these occur - Common Problems
  • Depending on your address you may be offered the oppurtunity to take your maternal handheld records (green notes) home for your community midwife to document the care you receive at home.  If you are taking your green notes home, it is important that you give them to your community midwife when she visits.  When the community midwife discharges you from her care the notes must be given to the community miidwife who returns them to the hospital.
  • When receiving medication your midwife in the hospital will give you enough for home and provide advice on how to take or administer them.
  • A 'Birth to Five' book - This is a very comprehensive book which provides advice and information for you, your baby and your family.  This book is a useful addition to the advice and support provided by the midwife and health visitor.  A copy can be accessed on PHA website
  • Advice on feeding - to read more about infant feeding please view - Off to a Good Start,  Information for Breastfeeding Mothers and Bottle Feeding leaflets.

Importance of Rest

Sleep when your baby sleeps, even during the day.  It is normal to feel tired.  Your body has gone through labour, delivery and many physcial changes and it needs extra rest for healing.

Be kind to yourself and your body, and allow yourself time to get your strength back.  With plenty of rest and support, you should recover quickly.

Mental Health Wellbeing

The rapid changes in your hormone levels after birth can bring you mixed feelng and emotions, this is called 'the baby blues'.  Being too tired following the birth can lead to you feeling unwell, unable to cope and the stress of new responsibilities can make the 'baby blues' worse.  The 'baby blues' are normal can can last for a few days.

Talking about your feelings can help.  The 'baby blues' are temporary and should pass.

Sometimes the 'blues' do not go away; and may develop into a condition called postatal depression.  This usually occurs two to eight weeks after the birth although it can happen anytime up to a year after your baby is born.  With postnatal depression you may feel increasingly depressed and despondent and looking after yourself or your baby may become too much.  Postnatal depression is a treatable illness and if you are concerned or think you may require advice or help talk to a health professional as soon as possible.

Perineal Hygiene

However you gave birth, whether vaginally or by caesarean, you will have some bleeding form your vagina (lochia).

The lochia is red at first, then brownish, and finally yellowish-white.  For about 10 days it will be like a heavy period and can continue up to six weeks.

Proper perineal care (feminine hygiene care) is important in preventing infection of the perineum, bladder and uterus.  Keep perineum clean, change pads at least four times a day, until your bleeding has stopped.  Wash hands before and after using the toilet.

Postnatal Exercises

You should have received a leaflet explaining exercises to help you regain pre-pregnancy muscle tone.  If you have any concerns you can contact the physiotherapy department in the maternity unit up to 6 weeks after the birth,  After this time, please contact your GP.

Family Planning

Your midwife will give you advice on contraceptives following birth.  It is possible to become pregnant again very soon after the birth of a baby, even if you are breastfeeding and even if your periods haven't returned.  You ovulate and release an egg about 2 weeks before your period arrives.  Therefore, your fertility may have returned before you realise!  It is importance to organise contraception from the start if you are not planning to become pregnant again soon or have been advised to delay your next pregnancy, for example after a casearean section.  Within 6 weeks after the birth of your baby please make an appointment at your local family planning clinic or GP but you can discuss contraception methods at any time with your midwife, health visitor, GP or local family planning clinic. Contraceptive Choices - after you've had your baby leaflet.

Cervical Screening Advice

Breast Awareness: Looking out for changes

Domestic Violence

Before you leave hospital you will be asked about 'Domestic Violence'.  It is a good opportunity for you to be able to voice concerns with regard to domestic violence.  Our staff, both in hospital and in the Community, are trained in how to support you, if you are or have been a victim of domestic violence.

Smoking Cessation

Stopping smoking is one of the best things a mother can do to benefit her health and the health of her baby.  Our midwives are available to provide evidence based information, support, advice and encouragement for mothers who decided to stop smoking. Smoke Free Pregnancy leaflet.

Ongoing Care by Community Midwife, Health Visitor and GP

You can expect to receive a visit on your first day home from the community midwife before 3pm, but if this has not happened, you will need to contact your local commmunity midwife base.  For phone number for Belfast midwives please click here

Your community midwife will provide you with their contact details and when they will visit.  They will assess and monitor your mental and physical health.  The community midwife will transfer you and your baby care to the health visitor at around 10-14 days after the birth of your baby.  However, this can be extended if the community midwife feels that this is required.  The health visitor is a registered midwife/nurse with additional specialist training in childcare and development who can offer advice and support to ensure that you and your baby continue to progress satisfactorily.

A postnatal examination is carried out approximately 6 weeks after your baby's birth to check on your health and wellbeing, thus completing your maternity care (you need to contact your GP for this appointment).  If you need to contact your GP for any other concerns/problems in the interim, please contact them for advice/support.  It is important to get your baby's Birth certificate and register with a GP as soon as possible.

Preparing and advice for taking your baby home.

"There is something very special

about being alone for the first time

with your new baby... but it's only

natural to feel a bit anxious too..."

Before you go home from hospital with your baby, please ensure that you know how to change a nappy and care for all your baby's hygiene needs.  Staff will be happy to show you how to or support you when you are caring for your baby.

The ward staff will be happy to teach you how to use sterilisers and if required please ensure you know to make up a bottle before going home. For further advice on how to sterilise please click here.

Baby Safety

Sadly, we don't know why some babies die suddenly and for no apparent reason from what is called 'Cot death' or 'Sudden Infant Death Syndrome' (SIDS).  But we do know that:

  • placing a baby to sleep on their back reduces the risks.
  • exposing a baby to cigarette smoke or overheating a baby increases the risks.

Remember that cot death is rare, so don't let worrying about it stop you enjoying your baby's first few months however, do follow the advice below to reduce the risks as much as possible. Baby Safety


  • Place your baby on their back to sleep in a cot in a room with you.
  • Do not smoke in pregnancy or let anyone smoke in the same room as your baby.
  • Do not share a bed with your baby.
  • Never sleep with your baby on the sofa or arm chair.
  • Do not let your baby get too hot - keep your baby's head uncovered.
  • Place your baby in the 'feet to foot' position.
  • Ensure your baby is laying on a firm safety mattress.


'How to comfort your baby and keep your cool'

Being a parent can be amazing and stressful at the same time.  Staying relaxed and being able to soothe your crying baby makes a big difference.  To help you, 'NSPCC' has gather the best tips from parenting books, website and from mums and dads themselves.  To watch the 'I Promise' DVD, click here.

Registration of Birth

By law all babies must be registered within 42 days of birth.

Your baby's birth will be regsitered at your local Birth, Deaths and Marriages registration office.  Addresses can be found in the Red Book (Child Health Record) telephone directory or at

A baby's birth can only be registered in the district the mother resides in or the district where the baby was born.  Registration of the birth is free.  A short birth certificate will be issued along with a form to register your baby with a GP.  This form should be completed and left with your GP as soon as possible.