General Information

Registering the birth: The baby’s birth must be registered within 42 days from the date of birth. Your midwife will give you details on what you need to do this. If you are married, you or the father can register the birth. If you are not married, you must go yourself, and if you would like your partner’s name to appear on the birth certificate, they must go with you. You cannot claim benefits or register your baby with a doctor until you have a birth certificate and an NHS number, which is usually allocated at birth. For further information, visit:

Screening: if you did not have screening tests for you Hb, blood group, antibodies, hepatitis B, syphilis, HIV, sickle cell and thalassaemia during your pregnancy, it is recommended to be done after your baby is born. The healthcare team looking after you will discuss  this with you.

Healthy eating and drinking: it is important to eat a healthy balanced diet containing bread, breakfast cereals, potatoes, pasta, and rice to give you energy, as well as fruit and vegetables. Lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs and pulses are good sources of protein. Dairy foods such as milk, cheese and yoghurt contain calcium as well as protein. It is also important that you are a healthy weight for your height before you become pregnant again. If you have concerns about your weight, discuss this with your midwife, GP, practice nurse or health visitor. There may be a local weight management group or slimming group in your area. Your healthcare team will be able to give you information regarding this.

General postnatal exercise: postnatal exercises are very important and should be adapted to your individual needs dependent on the type of birth you have had. They include abdominal, leg and breathing exercises as well as relaxation techniques. If you had a straightforward birth, you can start gentle exercise as soon as you feel up to it. It is usually a good idea to wait until after your 6 week postnatal check before you start any high impact exercise e.g. running or aerobics. If you had a caesarean section, your recovery time may take longer. Please feel free to discuss this with your midwife, GP or health visitor.

Domestic abuse: one in four women experience domestic abuse at some point in their lives and many cases start or worsen during pregnancy or after the birth. It may take the form of physical, sexual, mental or emotional abuse, stalking and harassment, online or digital abuse or financial control. It can take place between couple relationships or between family members. Domestic abuse risks both your health and that of your baby. You can speak in confidence to your healthcare team who can offer help and support, or you can contact a support agency such as the National Domestic Violence Healthline. The Survivors Handbook provides practical support and information for women experiencing domestic abuse, with some guidance on seeking support. For further information visit

Prescriptions and NHS dental treatment: These are free for 12 months after you have given birth. Your child is also entitled to free prescriptions until the age of 16. To claim after your baby is born (if you do not claim whilst you are pregnant), ask your midwife, GP or health visitor for information about how to get an exemption certificate. If you have private dental care, you will need to discuss this with your dental practice.

Work and benefits: The Money Advice Service has developed lots of helpful information on all financial aspects of the arrival of a new baby including budgeting, benefits and work options. You can access information online: Your employer should provide information about your options regarding returning to work and maternity leave entitlements. Child benefit is also available for each child from birth until at least age 16 and can be claimed by the mother or the person responsible for the care of the child.

Friends and Family test: This is an important opportunity for you to provide feedback on the services that provide your care and treatment. Your feedback will help NHS England to improve services for everyone. You can ask a member of staff for more information about how this information is used. Completion is voluntary, but if you do answer, your feedback will provide valuable information for your hospital to celebrate good practice and identify opportunities to make improvements. You will be asked to complete this survey after the birth of your baby either before you leave the hospital or at home if you had a home birth. They survey will be repeated when the community midwifery team discharge you from their care.

Information relating to baby

Prematurity (less than 37 weeks of pregnancy): If your baby war born early, there is an increased risk of conditions such as prolonged jaundice, infection, a low blood glucose (sugar) and vitamin K deficiency bleeding. It all depends on how early your baby has been born and if admission to neonatal intensive care is required, you will be advised according to your individual circumstances.

Prolonged jaundice: This is when jaundice is still present after two weeks. Tests/investigations will be carried out which include testing your baby’s blood and looking at their stools and urine. Your healthcare team will provide you with further information if your baby needs any treatment.

Infection: some babies are at increased risk of developing infections in their eyes, umbilicus (cord), urinary tract or on their skin, especially if their mother has:

  • an existing infection such as Group B haemolytic streptococcus
  • rupture of membranes (waters breaking) for more than 24 hours
  • had a raised temperature in labour

Symptoms of infections are what your healthcare team is looking for during the assessments of your baby. Signs of an infection are: sticky eyes, redness around the umbilicus (cord), septic spots, high or low temperature, fast or slow breathing, poor feeding, irritable, grunting when breathing, floppy and not responsive. If you have any concerns regarding any of these signs and symptoms, contact your midwife or GP immediately for advice. Your baby may need treatment/medication.

Low blood glucose (sugar): a low blood glucose level (hypoglycaemia) in a normally grown term baby (over 37 weeks gestation) is unusual. However, screening for hypoglycaemia may be indicated if they are born prematurely (less than 37 weeks gestation), is very small (growth restricted) or very large (macrosomic), has a low temperature, had a difficult delivery, you have diabetes pre-existing or developed during pregnancy) or taken medication for high blood pressure during your pregnancy.

Vitamin K deficiency bleeding: we all need vitamin K to make our blood clot properly, so that we won’t bleed too easily. Some babies have too little vitamin K. Although this condition is very rare, it can cause bleeding, which can become dangerous. This is called ‘haemorrhagic disease of the newborn’ or vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB). To reduce the risk, your baby will be offered vitamin K after birth. It is recommended that the vitamin K is given by injection.