The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Leeds Maternity Care

FAQ for after your baby is born

What are pelvic floor muscles?

Click here to read a leaflet with information about pelvic floor exercises and bladder advice.

The pelvic floor muscles are weakened when you are pregnant and give birth. These muscles sit at the bottom of the pelvis. Their job is to help to support the bladder, womb and bowels and to wrap around the opening of the bladder and back passage to stop leakage.  

There are two types of exercises to do. Start in a lying or sitting position, progress to standing if they get easier.

Exercise 1 -Squeeze around the back passage as if you are trying to stop passing wind, at the same time squeeze in front as if trying to stop the flow of urine. You should feel a squeeze and lift. Hold for a second. Allow the muscles to fully relax and repeat up to 10 times.

Exercise 2 - Squeeze around the back passage as if you are trying to stop passing wind, at the same time squeeze in front as if trying to stop the flow of urine. Hold the squeeze for a few seconds (up to 10), relax and repeat a few times (up to 10).  

Both exercises should be done 3 to 4 times a day.

After my baby is born, can I have a room to myself?

Yes it may be possible to provide you with your own room, however a charge may be applied.

Why is skin to skin contact and early feeding important?

We advise that all babies who are well be held in skin to skin contact with their mother as soon as possible following delivery, until they have had the first feed.

Skin to skin contact with your baby has many advantages for you and baby:

  • It helps keep baby warm
  • It helps baby regulate his heart rate and breathing
  • It is calming for mother and baby
  • It helps you and your baby bond
  • It stimulates baby to feed

Most babies show signs that they are ready to feed at around an hour after being born if they are held like this. We recommend skin to skin contact takes place as often as possible in the first few days following delivery as it encourages bonding between mother and baby and encourages your baby to feed.

How can I tell when my baby is ready to feed?

Baby’s show the same signs when they are ready to feed these include:

  • Rapid eye movements under the eye lids
  • Mouth and tongue movements
  • Hand to mouth movements
  • Body movements
  • Small sounds

Crying tends to come after these cues. It is better to feed your baby before he cries. A baby who cries has to be settled before he can feed.

How should I clean my stitches?

Have a bath or shower each day to ensure you are keeping your stitches clean. We advise that you do not use any products in the area of your stitches until they have healed. If you find it stings pass urine you can use a jug of tepid water to pour over your perineum whilst you are passing urine and then gently pat the area dry. Never sit on a rubber ring as this prevents blood flow to the perineum and can cause more problems.  

What can I do to help my stitches heal?

Keep the area clean and change pads regularly to prevent infection. Your stitches should gradually improve day by day so if your are experiencing any offensive discharge or you stitches feel like they are getting worse not better you should have your Midwife  or GP check them for signs of infection.

How long will my stitches be painful for?

Your stitches can take up to 8 weeks to fully dissolve however they should only be painful for up to 5-7days following birth. You can take simple analgesia such as paracetamol to help with the pain.

Is it normal to pass clots?

It is quite common to pass small clots following giving birth and these are usually if you have been sitting or laying down for some time. If you pass a clot that is larger than the size of a 50p piece or if your discharge smells offensive tell your midwife. 

When will my bleeding stop?

After having a baby a woman can bleed anything from a few days up to 12 weeks however the majority of women will stop bleeding between 2 and 4 weeks. All woman are different. It is also common for your bleeding to stop but then start again a few days later so we advise you continue to wear a pad until you have had no bleeding for 7 days to prevent any embarrassing accidents.

Why does it hurt when I pee?

Pain whilst passing urine is not uncommon especially if you had a catheter at some point around the time of your birth. It can also can sting if you had stitches to your perineum. You need to ensure you drink plenty and empty your bladder frequently. Some times the stinging can be a sign of a urine infection so if you feel the pain isn't from your stitches and you are generally feeling unwell or have a high temperature you should see your midwife or GP urgently to check for infection.

I am finding it difficult to poo, is that normal?

It is quite normal for  women find they have do not  have the urge to poo for a few days following the birth of their baby. Ensure you are drinking plenty of water and eating fruit, vegetables and fibre. If you are feeling uncomfortable or constipated you can obtain medicines to help you pass a stool over the counter in the chemist however if you are  very uncomfortable or you have piles which are painful it is advisable to speak to your midwife or GP about the best course of action to take.

If you have any concerns please contact your midwife or the MAC unit at the hospital you gave birth at who can give advice 24hrs a day.