After the Birth of your Baby

Congratulations on the birth of your baby!

Immediately after the birth of your baby, the midwife will need to carry out some checks on you and your baby. You will then be left together for a while to begin the process of getting to know each other.

With your consent, your baby will have a hearing test and a full physical examination between six and 72 hours of age.

The first few days after the birth of your baby can be very emotional as you adjust. You may feel daunted at the prospect of being left alone to look after your baby. This is completely normal and you will soon feel much more confident. There is a lot of support available to you both on the maternity unit at Southmead Hospital, at Cossham Birth Centre and when you are at home.

After a Home Birth

If your baby was born at home, your midwife will ensure that you and your baby are well following the birth before leaving you. Arrangements will be made for your baby’s first full examination, which is usually done between six and 72 hours of age. You will be given contact numbers and your midwife will arrange the next visit with you before leaving.

After a Birth Centre or Hospital Birth

If your baby has been born on the Central Delivery Suite or the Mendip Birth Centre, Southmead Hospital, you will be transferred to one of the wards on the maternity unit after two to three hours. There are three ward areas; Percy Phillips ward, Mendip Ward and Quantock Ward.

If your baby has been born at Cossham Birth Centre, you will remain in the same room for the duration of your stay and your partner is welcome to stay with you during that time.

The Percy Phillips Ward at Southmead Hospital has facilities to care for mothers with babies who need some extra help, known as transitional care, for example because they were born slightly too early or are small. Mothers whose baby is cared for on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) are usually looked after on this ward as well.

Percy Phillips Ward consists of three single rooms, and a mixture of three, four and six bedded rooms.

Mendip Ward has a mixture of single and two-bedded rooms.

Quantock Ward also has a mixture of single and two-bedded rooms with one four -bedded room. Single rooms are allocated on the basis of clinical need. Unfortunately we do not have facilities for birth partners to stay overnight.

The midwives and maternity care assistants looking after you will help you establish feeding and advise you on caring for your baby. Infant feeding specialist midwives are available when extra help and advice is required.

A Physiotherapist Assistant visits the wards every weekday to talk about postnatal exercise and see women with specific issues.

Breakfast at Southmead Maternity Unit is self-service in the day room between 7am and 9am. Lunch, served between 12 noon and 12.30pm, and supper, served at 5.30pm, will be brought to you at your bedside. Tea and coffee are available in the day room at any time. Vending machines are available opposite the family room.

At Cossham Birth Centre, meals and snacks are available at any time, please ask your midwife.

Help us keep the wards clean and safe

When you are transferred to a postnatal ward after the birth, please ask your birth partner to take home items you no longer require so that all your belongings fit into the bedside locker and on the shelves of the cot provided. Please do not bring in your baby’s car seat until you are certain that you are going home that day.

Going Home

As soon as you have both been assessed as fit and well and you are happy with how your baby is feeding, the best place to be is in the comfort of your own home.

  • If this is your first baby and you have had an uncomplicated birth and you are both well, the usual length of stay will be for one night or around six - 24 hours.
  • If this is your second or subsequent baby, you have had an uncomplicated birth and you are both well, the usual length of stay will be between six - 12 hours.
  • If you have had a planned caesarean section and you are both well, you may return home after a period of 24 hours, as recommended by NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence).

If there are any concerns over your wellbeing or that of your baby, your length of stay will be determined on an individual basis until such time as you are assessed as fit and well to go home.

On the day of your return home, you will be given your handheld maternity notes (yellow book) and telephone numbers to contact your community midwife and the maternity unit, should you need to. Please inform us if you are going to a new address or have changed your telephone number as we will notify the community midwife of your discharge so that they can visit you at home with your baby.

You will also be given a red Personal Child Health record book to take home. Your baby’s newborn examination will have been recorded in this book and also the outcome of the hearing screening check.