Paternity & Maternity
Pregnancy & Postpartum Care for New and Expectant Mothers & Fathers.
Finding out that you are expecting can be a very exciting but daunting time. Many expectant mothers and fathers are unsure of the process that is to come. We at Moatfield would like to help guide and educate new mothers and fathers to ensure that they are getting the most out of their pregnancy and postpartum experience.
Just Found Out You're Expecting...What Next?
You won't need to book a GP appointment unless you have some specific concerns. Conditions that may need GP input include women who:-
Take Prescribed Medication
Mental Health Problems
High Risk of or Previously Had Blood Clots
Use Illicit Drugs or Have Problems with Alcohol Misuse
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Otherwise, you just need to decide where you would like your antenatal care and which hospital you wish to deliver in.
All of our local hospitals work on a self-referral process:
Keeping Well During Pregnancy
Smoking and drinking can harm an unborn baby, please read the NHS stop smoking and Alcohol pages for help quitting.
A healthy diet is an important part of a healthy lifestyle at any time but is especially vital if you're pregnant or planning a pregnancy. Eating healthily during pregnancy will help your baby to develop and grow.
There are also certain foods that should be avoided during pregnancy.
It's best to get vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat, but when mothers are pregnant they need to take a folic acid supplement as well, to make sure they get everything they need. It's recommended that expectant mothers take 400 micrograms of folic acid every day.
The Department of Health and Social Care also advises you to consider taking a vitamin D supplement.
For more recommendations on vitamins, supplements and nurturing in pregnancy visit the NHS Website.
When is my baby due?
Your baby's due date will be determined at your dating scan. However, to get a 'rough' idea as to how far along in your pregnancy you are, you can use the pregnancy due date calculator.
As well as the NHS antenatal classes, The National Childbirth Trust (NCT) offer fun, local and social antenatal courses.
Although this isn't something new, hypnobirthing is becoming increasingly popular over the past couple of years. This is a tool that many mothers recommend to prepare themselves for labour, birth and life with a newborn.
In the first few days, you and your baby will be getting to know each other. It may take time for both of you to get the hang of breastfeeding. This happens faster for some women than others. But nearly all women produce enough milk for their baby.
It's good to find out as much as you can about breastfeeding before you have your baby. It may help you feel more confident when you start breastfeeding your baby.
Antenatal classes usually cover the most important aspects of breastfeeding, such as positioning and attachment, expressing, and how to tackle common breastfeeding problems.
The fluid your breasts produce in the first few days after birth is called colostrum. It's thick and usually a golden yellow colour. It's a very concentrated food, so your baby will only need a small amount, about a teaspoonful, at each feed.
For more on breastfeeding in the first few days, Visit the NHS Website.
In addition to the help online, in West Sussex, we have an award-winning local support service, MILK! west Sussex. For any further support with your breastfeeding journey, you can contact them
Bottle feeding is a chance to feel close to your baby and get to know them.
If you're planning to bottle feed with expressed breast milk or infant formula, these tips will help keep your baby safe and healthy.
You'll need a number of bottles and teats, as well as sterilising equipment. Simple bottles that are easy to wash and sterilise are probably best.
When making up a bottle, make sure your bottles and teats are sterilised and wash your hands thoroughly. If you are using instant formula, follow the instructions on the packaging carefully when making up a feed.
Make sure you're sitting comfortably. Enjoy holding your baby and looking into their eyes as you feed them.
Hold your baby fairly upright for bottle feeds. Support their head so they can breathe and swallow comfortably. Brush the teat against your baby's lips and, when your they open their mouth wide, let them draw in the teat.
When bottle feeding, keep the teat full of milk, otherwise your baby will take in air.
Your baby may take short breaks during a feed and may need to burp sometimes.
When your baby has had enough milk, hold them upright and gently rub or pat their back to bring up any wind.
For more information on bottle feeding your baby, visit the NHS Website.
Postnatal care is defined as the first 6-8 weeks of care after having a baby. During this time routine care is carried out by the health visitor but you also should arrange for your 6-8 check with a GP.
During this appointment, it's very common to forget all the important questions you have been thinking of over the past couple of weeks. (Mum brain in full swing!)
It's helpful to write things down that you want to ask and bring these questions with you to the appointment, and remember to be honest! Your GP is here to help you, not to judge. Many of the feelings that you may have experienced are common.
You may have already met your health visitor before your baby was born, however, if you did not you certainly will after.
Our local children's centre is based at Blackwell Primary School. The health visitors are based here and run weekly weigh-in clinics for your little one.
There are also scheduled drop-in clinics that are very helpful and support to guide you also.
Postpartum Anxiety(PPA) and Depression(PPD)
Whilst this period of time is for many a truly wonderful experience getting to know your new baby it’s not for all. Postnatal depression is common, please reach out for help and arrange an appointment with a GP.
Depression after a baby is born can be extremely distressing. Postnatal depression is thought to affect around 1 in 10 women. Many women suffer in silence. Their friends, relatives and health professionals don't know how they're feeling.
When you have postnatal depression, you may feel increasingly depressed and despondent. Looking after yourself or your baby may become too much. Symptoms of PPA/PPD may include:
Emotional Signs of PPA/PPD
Loss of interest in the baby
Feeling of Hopelessness
Not Being Able to Stop Crying
Feelings of Not Being Able to Cope
Not Being Able to Enjoy Anything
Memory Loss or Being Unable to Concentrate
Excessive Anxiety About the Baby
Physical Signs of PPA/PPD
Aches and Pains
Feeling Generally unwell
Loss of Appetite
If you think you have postnatal depression, don't struggle alone. It's not a sign that you're a bad mother or are unable to cope. Postnatal depression is an illness and you need to get help, just as you would if you had the flu or a broken leg.
We have been informed of a local well-being choir group for maternal health. They are inclusive to all women and you are invited to bring your babies, children, grandchildren etc! Singing is proven to be a powerful antidepressant and is a great way to connect with other local mums.
PPA/PPD in Fathers
Whether it’s sleep deprivation, money worries, new responsibilities, or the relationship dynamic shifting, dads also have a lot to take on board. This is a huge life change for both parents. On top of this, dads might feel guilty about what their partner is going through, knowing they aren’t the ones breastfeeding at 3 am or healing from labour and birth.
Dads can also experience PPD in the first year after birth, and as with PPD in mums, it often goes undiagnosed. The symptoms can look a lot like the everyday stresses of having a newborn.
Hormonal changes can also play a role. Hormones such as testosterone, vasopressin and prolactin may change in dads during the period after their babies arrive.
Postnatal depression in dads can show itself in different ways. Symptoms can include:
Fear, confusion, helplessness and uncertainty about the future
Negative parenting behaviors
Physical symptoms like indigestion, changes in appetite and weight, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, toothaches and nausea.
Withdrawal from family life, work and social situations
Frustration, irritability, cynicism and anger
Alcohol and drug use
We understand that for men it is 'unnatural' to talk openly about your mental health. To screen for depression you can go to the NHS Choices website and use the depression screening tool.
For further information to help with your mental health journey, we have a dedicated Men's Health page with reliable recourses to guide you.
New Father's Support
Dads are a major part of many families but don't always have the tools to complete parenting programs. Movember has launched the world's first parenting programme designed for dads: Family Man.
Parents, especially dads, need proven parenting strategies known to work. Family Man is 100% backed by research-helping you keep cool during the worst meltdowns.
Watch the episodes to unlock the toolkit and become the family man you know you are!
Last Reviewed: 05/06/2023