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The Rotunda was the first maternity hospital in dublin to get the national baby friendly hospital award

Looking after yourself at Home


As a new mum, it is very important that you take good care of yourself. You should make sure to have someone staying with you for the first few nights. If your partner cannot be there perhaps your mother or a good friend could stay with you. If you have other young children it is often a goodbaby mother and father idea to let them have sleepovers with your mother or a sister or friend.
 

Rest and sleep are so important for you and your baby. Try to keep visitors to a minimum until you feel ready to entertain. People who do visit should be encouraged to stay for just a short time. Very often your partner will take charge of organising visitors so he should be aware of your need to sleep.

Stock up your freezer with cooked meals or have family members lined up to provide you with meals for the first week or so. Not having to think about cooking will allow you to spend more time with your new baby. It is important to drink plenty of fluids so have plenty of drinking water easily available. When breastfeeding you may feel thirsty so keep a drink nearby and avoid very fizzy drinks or drinks with a high caffeine content.

Recovering from the birth

Your body will take time to recover physically from the birth. Your recovery will depend on how your pregnancy and birth went. Recovery will be quicker for some women while others may take a little longer to feel back to themselves. In general, it will take six weeks for a full recovery. You should plan to have at least two weeks dedicated at home to you and your baby. After this you may feel ready to face the world and introduce your new baby to it!

Your bleeding should settle down to a period like bleed over the first three to five days. You may pass the odd small blood clot if you have been lying down for a long time or after you breastfeed. If your bleeding gets heavier and you are soaking pads or passing lots of clots, please ring the assessment and emergency unit for advice – 01 817 1700.

At first, you may experience some stinging when passing urine, but this should ease over the first few days. If you suddenly notice increasing pain when passing urine or severe backache, you should look for medical advice to make sure you don’t have a urinary tract infection.

You may not have a bowel motion for a few days after the birth. This is normal and nothing to worry about. However, it is important not to become constipated so drink plenty of water and eat a varied diet with fruit and vegetables. If you become constipated it will increase the pain and discomfort around your stitches.

You may have pain or discomfort in your vaginal area, particularly if you had stitches. You should try to find the most comfortable position for you when sitting down. Very often it is bruising and swelling that causes the most discomfort. Regular bathing will help. Gentle pelvic floor exercises in the early days encourage the reduction of swelling and are great for easing pain.

The cervical smear test is a screening test, which checks to see if the cells that make up the surface of the cervix are normal. It aims to identify any abnormality which can be simply and effectively treated and therefore prevent long-term problems. You should wait until 12 weeks after giving birth before having a smear test. Cervical screening is free in Ireland with ‘CervicalCheck’. You should register with your GP or Well Woman centre to avail of this service. For further information, check the website: www.cervicalcheck.ie

When to restart your sex life is a very individual decision. Physically, most women will know when their bodies are ready for sex again. Emotionally, it very much depends on how you and your partner are coping with this massive life-changing event. It is important to talk to your partner to make sure you both understand each other’s needs.

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