The Post-Natal Period

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Checks After Birth

Checks on babies after birth include facial features and body proportions, limbs and spine, hands, umbilical cord, weight, temperature, length and head circumference.

Within 24 hours of birth, a check is made for the passing of meconim: a black, sticky, tar-like bowel movement.

Further checks are made on earrs, the fontanelles, the abdomen, the gentals, the hip joints, the eyes and nose and the nerves and muslces.

At 7 to 10 days, the newborn blood spot screening is done. It tests for: cystic fibrosis, sickle-cell aneamia and thalassaemia, PKU and thyroid function. If the baby has PKU, a special diet is needed to prevent brain damage. For thyroid function, treatment prevents abdnormal growth and development.

6 weeks after birth, the mother has a post-natal apointment to check her emotional state, that her uterus has shrunk back to size and is tucked backed in to the peleivs, any sitches have dissolved/healed, her blood pressure is normal and for post-natal bleeding. 

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Post-Natal Depression

Hormonal changes, lack of sleep and recovering from labour can causethe mother to feel miserable for a short time after giving birth. This is called baby blues and passes quickly.

This shouldn't be confused with post-natal depression where the mother feels overwhelemed and unable to cope. This illness can be cured with mecdication, councelling or support, but very occansionally requires psychaiatric hospitalisation. 

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The Fathers Role

After birth, the father of the bay should give the mother both emotional and phyical support.

Sometimes the fathers feel left out, especially if the baby is breastfed, they need support to.

They are entilted to 2 weeks paternity leave, which should be taken within 8 weeks of the babys birth. They recieve statutory paternity pay. 

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