Visit our Physio Department page for more information, including resources and videos on postnatal exercise, pelvic girdle pain, and pelvic floor exercises.
Care on the Postnatal Ward
When the midwives in the delivery suite are happy that all is well following the birth of your baby, they will transfer you and your baby to the postnatal ward.
When you are admitted to the ward, the midwife will check the sex of your baby with you by opening the nappy, the baby’s identification bands and security tag. It is important to remember that if you try to move your baby outside the ward area your baby’s security tag will set off an alarm. To make sure your baby is safe and secure, they must wear the security tag and identification bands at all times while they are in the hospital. If you notice that a band or the tag has come off please tell a member of the ward staff immediately. They will re-secure it for you.
You will spend the next couple of days in the ward getting to know your baby and preparing for when you leave the hospital to go home. The midwives, student midwives and care assistants on the ward will guide, teach and help you to care for yourself and your baby. After nine months of anticipation, excitement and probably some nerves, you and your partner can now start the next stage of a wonderful journey as you discover how to be parents.
During your stay in the postnatal ward you will experience a wide range of emotions. You will feel wonder as you look at this new little person in the cot beside you. You may also feel overwhelmed that your baby is completely dependent on you for all their care. Indeed, it is a time of huge learning, especially if this is your first baby.
You will spend the next couple of days in the ward getting to know your baby and preparing for when you leave the hospital to go home. The midwives, student midwives and care assistants on the ward will guide, teach and help you to care for yourself and your baby. This video will provide important information about how to care for yourself and your baby during your staying in the Rotunda. We hope it will assist you in in gaining the confidence to care for yourself and your baby home.
Exercise and Physio
Healthy bladder and bowel habits
You should empty your bladder within 6 hours of your delivery. If you have difficulty emptying your bladder, talk to your midwife.
Drink 1.5 – 2 litres of fluid during the day (water is preferable to tea and coffee which may irritate your bladder). You need to drink more if you are breastfeeding.
Don’t ignore urges to empty your bowel in the first few weeks. Eat plenty of high fibre foods (e.g. fruit, vegetables).
For comfort when opening your bowels, hold some folded toilet paper over your stitches in front of your back passage. If you had a caesarean section, support your tummy with your hands or a folded towel.
Avoid straining – take your time. Sit leaning forward, with your elbows on your knees, and let your tummy relax. Use a foot stool or lift your heels up off the floor so that your knees are above your hips. Don’t hold your breath.
If you have any leakage from your bladder or bowel, contact the physiotherapy department to make an individual appointment on 01 817 1787.
Looking after yourself at Home
As a new mum, it is very important that you take good care of yourself. You should make sure to have someone staying with you for the first few nights. If your partner cannot be there perhaps your mother or a good friend could stay with you. If you have other young children it is often a good idea to let them have sleepovers with your mother or a sister or friend.
Rest and sleep are so important for you and your baby. Try to keep visitors to a minimum until you feel ready to entertain. People who do visit should be encouraged to stay for just a short time. Very often your partner will take charge of organising visitors so he should be aware of your need to sleep.
Stock up your freezer with cooked meals or have family members lined up to provide you with meals for the first week or so. Not having to think about cooking will allow you to spend more time with your new baby. It is important to drink plenty of fluids so have plenty of drinking water easily available. When breastfeeding you may feel thirsty so keep a drink nearby and avoid very fizzy drinks or drinks with a high caffeine content.
Methods of Contraception
Contraception should involve both partners. Each couple has to balance the risks and the benefits, bearing in mind their own culture, medical histories and lifestyles. These may change over time and therefore you may choose to use different methods at various stages in your life.
Most contraceptives have very high success rates if they are used carefully and consistently. Full instructions on using your chosen method should be provided by your GP or family planning clinic.
Postnatal depression is common. It can happen to any mother after having a baby, but it is more common if a woman has a previous history of depression. About one in eight women suffer from postnatal depression and many women have had some depressive symptoms during pregnancy.