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Maternity Period

+1 week

What to expect?

The first week after the birth is a very special but also intensive time. It is important to prepare yourself for this. During this first week you are recovering from the birth, and because a newborn needs feeding every 3 hours, you probably haven’t had much sleep.

Don’t have too many visitors at once; give yourself the opportunity to recover both physically and emotionally. Due to the lack of sleep, the intense emotions after giving birth and the physical complaints, many women experience an ‘off’ day around day 4. You can be more emotional then, we call this "maternity tears". This is normal. Do not hesitate to call off your visits if you don't feel up to them. It's your week and the importance of your family comes first!

Fortunately, you should feel much like yourself again after 1 or 2 weeks and will be able to take care of the baby. The maternity period plus physical recovery will take much longer, see the section on post natal body.

It can be useful to freeze a few meals during the last weeks of pregnancy or ask friends or family to bring you some. This way you have one less thing to worry about during the day but still have a nutritious meal

Postnatal complaints

Haemorrhoids, blood loss and perspiring. Just a few issues that can occur during your maternity period. For a handy and complete overview please go to website deverloskundige.nl

Maternity Nurse

The maternity nurse will teach you and your partner how to care for your baby and help with breastfeeding (if required). A maternity nurse will visit you for approx. 8 days following the birth. Over this period hours are reduced gradually depending on your individual needs.

What does a maternity nurse do?

  • Teach you and your partner how to care for your baby and the baby’s behaviour patterns
  • Check on your recovery daily
  • Check the baby daily for colour, temperature, fluid intake, urinating and bowel movements
  • If the maternity nurse believes the baby is unwell for any reason, she will tell the midwife.
  • She will perform basic household tasks, laundry for you and the baby, changing bed sheets, keeping the baby’s room clean and tidy plus keeping toilet and washing facilities clean. She will look after any others children you have also.
  • She will assist with breastfeeding

If you are unhappy with your maternity care for any reason, please let your maternity care agency know as soon as possible. Maybe you just don’t ‘click’ with your nurse or you disagree on certain matters. If the two of you cannot agree, the maternity agency can send you another nurse. It is important that you can look back on you maternity week with happiness and feel that you have been cared for very well.  If there are any issues, please do not wait until the last moment, it will be difficult to find a solution at that point.  

The midwife during the maternity week

Next to care from the maternity nurse, we are responsible for the post natal checks, and will visit you a few times during the first week to discuss the birth with you, resolve any breastfeeding issues and answer any other questions you may have.

Initially the maternity nurse will try to answer your questions and check if everything is going as expected. She will notify us of any concerns so that we can take action. If there are any problems or questions outside of these visits in the first week, please contact us.

If you have given birth at the hospital, the hospital will let us know when you go home. We will visit you the next day.

Child Health Clinic, heel prick and hearing test

At the end of the maternity week we will transfer your medical care over to your family doctor/Health Centre. The midwife will also arrange the transfer with the Child Health Clinic. Any questions regarding the development of your baby will be dealt with here.

You do not need to do anything, once the child is born and you have registered the birth with the council, the Child Health Clinic will contact you.

During the first week here the district nurse will visit you to carry out the baby’s heel prick and hearing test.

The heel prick test means that the nurse will collect a small amount of blood from the heel of your baby. In a lab this blood will be examined for markers of several rare health conditions. Early detection and treatment of these conditions can reduce or prevent severe damage to your child’s physical and mental development. Most of these conditions are incurable but can be treated with e.g. medication or a special diet.

The baby’s hearing will also be tested. For more information, please see leaflet links below.

Approximately two weeks after the birth, the district nurse will contact you to arrange an intake appointment to take place at your home. She will weigh the baby and explain how the child health clinic will provide further care. If you would like the district nurse to provide this information while you are still pregnant, please let us know.

Do's for dads

Hopefully you have enjoyed the couple of quiet hours after the birth. For months you have been waiting for this and now life after the birth has begun.  The next two weeks will be confusing. Like a guard dog, you will feel a strong urge to protect your wife and baby. But unfortunately there are lots of intruders.  The most present is the maternity nurse. If you are lucky, she will look after your wife and you will all become a team.  

And then there are the visitors. They seem to feel they can drop by unannounced. That one neighbour whose name you don’t know is suddenly standing at your door. Just the sound of the doorbell is annoying.  The baby just went to sleep! Your mental flexibility is decreasing due to lack of sleep during a time everyone expects you to be happy.  Be more assertive than normal, draw a line. Ask visitors to leave after 30 minutes and tell others to wait a few more weeks.

Prepare yourself well for these two weeks. Ask your employer about maternity leave for fathers. Treat yourself to a few days off work. You are needed much during this time. You have been promoted to Head of Bowel Movements. You carry the baby around and change the nappy on that bundle of joy. Don’t worry about that little thing sticking out the belly button; it will fall off by itself.

For madam (don’t call her that out loud) these are a hard few weeks. She has to stay in bed and rest a lot and thinks far too soon she’s ok to get up.  Care for her and protect her. Take care of yourself. You are undergoing some hormonal changes too.  Have a nap together in the afternoon and ask the maternity nurse to look after the baby.  At 4 days after the birth your adrenaline levels have worn out and exhaustion kicks in. There is a big chance that the new mother will have crying fits. A wise man once said: “The best a father can do for his child is to love the mother.” Go daddy!

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