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 mother's and father's are unsure on the process that is to come. We at Moatfield would like to help guide and educate new mother's and father's to ensure that you are getting the most out of your pregnancy and postpartum experience.

 

Contents

Pregnancy

Postpartum

Pregnancy

 

Just Found Out You're Expecting...What Next?

 

You wont need to book a GP appointment unless you have some specific concerns. Conditions that may need GP input include women who:-

 
  • Take prescribed medication
  • Use Illicit Drugs or Have Problems with Alcohol Misuse
  • Smokers
  • Mental Health Problems
  • Thyroid Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Kidney Disease
  • Hypertension
  • Asthma
  • High Risk of or Previously Had Blood Clots
  • Cardiac Disease
  • Rheumatological Conditions
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Haemoglobinopathies
 

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 consider taking a vitamin D supplement.

 

For more recommended on vitamins, supplements and nurturing in pregnancy Click Here.

 

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.

 

Antenatal Classes

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 yourself for labour, birth and life with a newborn.

 

Postpartum

 

Breastfeeding

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 attachmentexpressing, 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, Click Here.

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 

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.

See how to make up baby formula.

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, Click Here.

 

Postpartum Care

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 its very common to forget all the important questions you have been thinking of over the past couple of weeks. (Mum brain in full swing!)

Its helpful to write things down that you want to ask and bring these questions with you to the appointment, and remember be honest! Your GP is here to help you, not to judge. Many of the feelings that you may have experienced are common.

 

Health Visitors

You may have already met your health visitor before baby was born, however if you did not you certainly will after. 

Our local childrens 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

Physical Signs of PPA/PPD

Loss of interest in the baby Panic Attacks
Feeling of Hopelessness Sleeplessness
Not Being Able to Stop Crying Extreme Tiredness
Feelings of Not Being Able to Cope Aches and Pains
Not Being Able to Enjoy Anything Feeling Generally unwell
Memory Loss or Being Unable to Concentrate Loss of Appetite
Excessive Anxiety About the Baby  

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.

 

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 3am or healing from labour and birth.

Dad's 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, 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
  • Withdrawal from family life, work and social situations

  • Indecisiveness

  • Frustration, irritability, cynicism and anger

  • Marital conflict
  • Partner violence

  • Negative parenting behaviors
  • Alcohol and drug use
  • Insomnia
  • Physical symptoms like indigestion, changes in appetite and weight, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, toothaches and nausea.
 

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.

Revised 21/10/20