After you have given birth, you will understandably want to give your baby lots of attention. Even so, it is important to make a little time for yourself. By regaining your fitness you’ll feel good, have more energy and you could avoid health problems in the future.
If you have any worries about your health or that of your baby, speak to a member of your healthcare team (such as your midwife, health visitor, GP or maternity support worker). We encourage you and your family to ask for help whenever you need it.
Emotional well-being, or mental health, is just as important as physical health. Find out what mental health support is available during and after pregnancy.
Registering your baby with a General Practitioner (GP)
You will need to register your baby with a GP as soon as possible. To do this you will need to complete a form GMS1 which is available from all GP practices. You’ll need the baby’s NHS number we gave them at birth.
In the early days, gentle exercises for the pelvic floor muscles help to reduce the pain and swelling in the tissues after a vaginal birth. In the long term, keeping these muscles strong will improve bladder and bowel control, safeguard against prolapse and contribute to a healthy sex life. Good reasons for all new mothers to exercise a little every day, now and for life!
Watch these short videos on topics covering all the advice you need to make a full and speedy recovery after the birth of your baby.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Pelvic Health Physiotherapy Departments.
Royal Sussex County and Princess Royal hospitals physiotherapy or Pelvic Health Physiotherapy Department at Worthing on 01903 285014.
It is not uncommon to experience some bladder incontinence in the first few weeks after having a baby. These symptoms usually resolve on their own. But, if they carry on beyond 3 to 4 weeks, please self-refer to our outpatient pelvic health physiotherapy department. Other symptoms you may have are back or neck pain, due to changes in your posture whilst feeding or carrying your baby. If these symptoms continue you can also self-refer to us for help.
Diet and exercise
If you had a straightforward birth you can start gentle, low impact exercise once you feel up to it. High impact exercise is best left until after the 6-week postnatal check.
- Keeping fit and healthy with a baby – NHS
- Prenatal and postnatal yoga video – NHS
- Sussex WEPP | Sussex Wellbeing & Exercise in Pregnancy
6-week postnatal check
You should make an appointment at your GP practice to have your postnatal 6-8 week check to ensure that you are well following the birth. Your GP Practice also offers a physical and developmental review for your baby at around 6 weeks. These appointments are often together. Please contact your GP surgery to make an appointment and remember to take your baby’s Red Book.
It is your choice when to have sex again after giving birth. Remember it’s possible to get pregnant again very soon after having a baby. Even if you’re not thinking about having sex again yet, contraception is something you need to think about. You can potentially become pregnant before your periods return.
Smoking, alcohol and substance use
The only way to protect babies and children from second-hand smoke is to keep the environment around them smoke free. Second hand smoke contains more than 4,000 irritants, toxins and cancer-causing substances. It is harmful for children because their lungs, airways and immune systems are not fully developed. Risks to babies include sudden infant death syndrome (cot death or SIDS). You can reduce the risk of SIDS by not smoking while pregnant or after your baby is born.
Being a parent can be a wonderful and rewarding experience, but it can also be stressful at times. You may be tempted to use alcohol or drugs to help relieve stress. This can cause serious harm not only to your health, but also affect other members of the family including your baby. Please speak to your GP or health visitor if you are relying on alcohol or drugs to cope. We won’t judge, we’re here to help.
Registering a birth
You must register your baby within 42 days (6 weeks) of birth.
You should do this at the local register office for the area where the baby was born.
- If your baby was born at the Royal Sussex County Hospital or at home in Brighton & Hove: Register a birth in Brighton and Hove
- If your baby was born at Worthing, St Richard’s or the Princess Royal hospital, or at home in West Sussex: Register a birth in West Sussex
- If your baby was born at Crowborough or Eastbourne midwife-led units: Register a birth in East Sussex
Immunisation is one of the best ways to protect your child from some harmful and potentially life-threatening diseases. You will be sent reminders as to when your baby’s appointments are by your GP surgery.
Money help and advice
You’re now entitled to claim Child benefit too.
There are lots of sources of information and services to support you:
Your Health Visitor will give you information on staying healthy and looking after your baby.
The Health Visiting Service provides ParentLine, a dedicated text service for patients/carers of children aged 0 to 5 years to get in touch about any parenting questions or concerns. Text 07312 277163. You can text at any time and your call will be returned within 24 hours, Monday to Friday, 9am to 4:30pm, except for bank holidays and weekends.
- Visit the health visitors website for Brighton and West Sussex
- DadPad | The Essential Guide for New Dads | Support Guide for New Dads (thedadpad.co.uk)
- Ready for Parenthood aims to support new parents and carers, focusing on different topics.