During your pregnancy, you will be looked after by the Primary Health Care team which is led by your GP, and includes the Midwives and Health Visitors involved in your care and the care of your baby. If there are any problems, you may need to see the specialist team of healthcare professionals at the hospital.
The midwife has been specially trained to care for mothers and babies throughout normal pregnancy, labour and birth. A midwife usually works either in a hospital, a midwifery unit, or is attached to a GPs practice. Midwives are involved in giving antenatal care, attending home births and delivering babies in hospital or GP/midwife units. Your midwife may even accompany you to the hospital. She will continue to look after you and your baby until she hands over your care to a health visitor at between 10 and 28 days after the birth. Your midwife will give you a contact number in case there are any problems.
A health visitor is a fully qualified nurse who has had extra training in caring for people in the community. Her role is to help families, especially those with very young children, to keep healthy. Your health visitor will visit you at home sometime after your baby is 10 days old. She will give you information about feeding as well as general health and safety. She will also offer advice and give support if you have any problems. You can arrange to see her at home or at the child health clinic at the Surgery.
An obstetrician is part of the hospital team. As a doctor who specialises in pregnancy, labour and birth, he or she is able to deal with complications in any of these areas.
Also part of the hospital team, a paediatrician is a doctor who specialises in the care of babies and children. After the birth, a paediatrician or a member of his team will check to see that there is nothing wrong with your baby before you leave the hospital.
Your postnatal check usually takes place at around six to eight weeks after the birth and is a check to see that the body has returned to normal.
Blood pressure, weight, blood and urine will be tested and a physical check may be given to check that the vagina, uterus, ovaries and breasts have returned to normal. Any stitches will be looked at to make sure they have healed properly and a smear test may be given if this is due.
This is an opportunity to talk about problems and to get advice on contraception.
At this appointment your baby will usually receive his or her six-to-eight week check and first vaccinations at the same time.