09:24 09 June 2009
The week after you give birth is a time of change for both you, your partner and your baby. You'll need lots of time to relax " if at all possible " to get to know each other, and to recharge your batteries. This article also appears on www.bbc.co.uk/parenting/having_a_baby
If you feel pressure to 'get back to normal', ignore it.
"...if you get offers of help, accept..."
If you want to stay in your nightie or dressing gown for days on end, do it! That way, resting seems easier, and no one expects you to even think about going to the supermarket or driving anywhere.
If you have visitors, make it clear you don't expect to entertain them " if they want tea or coffee, they can make it! And if you get offers of help, accept. You are bound to need some help washing, cooking, shopping or cleaning.
"Info: Start your pelvic floor and other exercises as soon as you can " the next day is fine. See our feature on Exercise and fitness."
Vitamin K is usually offered to your baby, shortly after birth, either orally or via injection. This is to prevent a rare condition called haemorrhagic disease of the newborn, when the blood fails to clot. The oral form needs to be given more than once to make sure the dose is complete.
Many babies have mild jaundice in the first week or so, caused by a substance called bilirubin still present in the blood. If there seems to be a problem, then your baby will have a blood test to see how high the level really is. Jaundice can make some babies a little sleepy.
An Apgar 'score' of 0, 1 or 2 is given for:
A maximum score is 10; most healthy babies get seven at least. Different units do the check at different times. Commonly, it's at one minute and then at five.
In hospital and at home the midwife will visit you to:
You have the option of midwifery care up to 28 days after the birth. The midwives can extend this as long as they thinks it's necessary. In practice, a community midwife often signs over your care to the health visitor at about 10 days, if all is well. You'll be visited at home in these first 10 days, but it might not be every day. You should have the contact details of a midwife if you need help outside normal working hours.
"It was the third night, and the first one at home. The baby was screaming and wouldn't feed. I was desperate. We called the midwife, and she reassured us. She would have come out to see us if it had been necessary, but it wasn't. The next day she came to see us, and things were much better. It's easy to panic with the responsibility of it all... I think all parents have some bad nights like that."
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