Qualification: NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Educator
Unit: Unit 1.6: Understand the needs of the mother and baby during pre-conception, pregnancy and the first year of life
Learning outcome: Understand postnatal care
Assessment criteria: Describe post-natal care for: mother, baby
After giving birth, both mother and baby need special care to ensure a smooth and healthy recovery. Post-natal care typically includes support and advice on breastfeeding, wound care, mental health support and more.
For mothers, post-natal care is vital in helping them to recover from the physical and emotional strain of childbirth. Many women experience a range of emotions after giving birth, and post-natal care can help to support them through this time. Professional health visitors or midwives will usually make regular visits to new mothers in their homes to offer advice and support.
The mother may require advice and support relating wound care, post-partum depression, sleeping/fatigue, breastfeeding and pelvic floor exercises.
If there were complications during the birth, the mother may require hospitalisation and care by nurses. For example, following a C-section/caesarian, mothers usually need to stay in the hospital for 3-4 days following the procedure.
If there are any signs of a health defect in the baby, a doctor or midwife should explain the issue to the mother in a sensitive and compassionate way and answer any questions they may have.
For babies, post-natal care focuses on ensuring they are feeding, gaining weight and developing normally. Head circumference is measured as well. A full health check of the baby is performed within 72 hours of the birth and again within 6-8 weeks.
Health professionals have a duty of care to report any safeguarding concerns that they have.