Women's and Neonatal Services

After your baby is born

Where will my care be based?

If you had your baby at home and there are no complications you will stay at home. The midwife will make you comfortable and complete any documentation before leaving. The midwife will give you emergency numbers to ring and visit you 4-10 hours later.

If you have had your baby in the Alexandra Birthing Centre and there are no complications, you will remain in your bedroom before being discharged home when you and baby are happy to go – usually after 6 hours unless a complication arises.

If you have your baby on the delivery suite, you will be made comfortable and when your condition is stable and your notes are completed, you and your baby will be transferred to Katherine Ward. It may be possible to pay for an amenity room on Katherine ward – your midwife can discuss this with you.

All babies are offered a hearing screening test (more information from: Screening Tests for You and Your Baby or www.hearing.screening.nhs.uk) ideally before you go home but certainly within four weeks at a West Herts outpatients clinic. Babies will also have a neonatal examination by a paediatrician or suitably qualified midwife either prior to discharge home or in an outpatient clinic’

How long will I be in hospital?

Providing that you and your baby are both well you can go home whenever you wish following discussion with your midwife. Some women choose to go home 2-6 hours after their baby is born. Other women may wish to stay on the postnatal ward. The average length of stay in the unit is:

  • 1 night following a normal birth
  • 1–2 days following an instrumental birth
  • 3 days following a Caesarean section

If either you or your baby requires a longer stay due to complications, you will be advised to stay longer. Doctors and midwives will keep you informed of developments.

Infant Feeding

Picure of a woman sitting down whilst holding a child in her armsThe options for feeding your baby will be discussed with you and your family; irrespective of how you choose to feed your baby, help and advice will be given to support you, however, there is no doubt that breastfeeding is the best way to feed a newborn baby.

Breastfeeding is good for babies. Breastfed babies have:

  • less chance of diarrhoea and vomiting and having to go to hospital as a result
  • fewer chest infections, ear infections, gastro-enteritis, urinary tract infections
  • reduced risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and childhood leukaemia
  • less chance of being constipated
  • less likelihood of becoming obese and therefore developing type 2 diabetes and other illnesses later in life
  • less chance of developing eczema

As a mum, breastfeeding gives you a number of benefits too, including

  • lowers your risk of getting breast and ovarian cancer, and reduced risk of osteoporosis
  • naturally uses up to 500 calories a day
  • saves money – infant formula, the sterilising equipment and feeding equipment can be costly
  • can help to build a strong bond between you and your baby

Pciture of two women talking whilst one breast feeds her babyWest Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust is working to achieve the Baby Friendly Certificate of Commitment for breastfeeding and then to achieve full accreditation. This is a measure of service quality.

Along with the midwives and midwifery assistants, there are three infant feeding coordinators available to support you if you have any problems with breastfeeding your baby. All midwives and support staff are trained in breastfeeding management and offer 24 hour telephone support via the postnatal wards.

There are active breastfeeding peer support groups locally and trained peer supporters provide a voluntary service on the postnatal ward.

What happens when I get home?

Once you leave the hospital we will ensure you have the appropriate contact number for a midwife should you need any advice before the community midwife visits you.

A community midwife will normally visit you the following day. The midwife will answer any questions you have and ensure that you and your baby are both well. The midwife will discuss future visits with you according to your specific needs.

Registration of your baby’s birth

All babies must be registered with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages within 42 days of the birth. If you are married, either parent may register the baby. If you are single, you are responsible for registering the baby. If you are single but you want your partner’s name to appear on the birth certificate, your partner must be present with you at the time of registration.

You will be given more detailed information on where and how to register your baby before you leave hospital.

Picture of Our values logo
Picture of Trust annual report and review
Picture of NHS Choices logo
Picture of Watford Hospital Radio
Picture of the Just Giving logo
Picture of patient surveys logo
© 2000 - West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust