Western Sussex Hospitals have joined up with Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals to form a new NHS Foundation Trust for our area: University Hospitals Sussex.

You can keep using this website for information about St Richard’s, Worthing and Southlands hospitals but for our other sites and to find out more about the new trust please visit www.uhsussex.nhs.uk.

You and your baby

Our staff will do everything they can to help you and your baby get off to the best start in life together.

Mother breastfeeding

Please read the sections ‘After your Baby is born’ in your PCSP Personalised Care and Support Plan


Congratulations on the birth of your baby!
During this period you may have some concerns about your health or that of your baby. It is important that you speak to a member of your healthcare team (such as your midwife, health visitor, GP or maternity support worker) if you have any concerns or questions. You and your family are encouraged to ask for help whenever you need it no matter how big or small you feel the problem may be. It is extremely important to us that you feel listened to and if you have not had a satisfactory interaction with our staff, we would encourage you to contact PALS. Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) / Complaints – Western Sussex Hospitals

The below tables show some concerns that may arise with advice on where and how to seek help and support.

Remember telephone triage is open 24 hours a day if you have any questions or concerns 01903 285269. If you or your baby are seriously unwell call 999

It may be necessary to weigh you immediately post birth in order to calculate medications accurately. This is not part of our weight management programme.

Click here for NHS.UK information about what happens in the immediate postnatal period

Your body after the birth NHS.UK

Your mental wellbeing

Having a baby is a time of huge emotional change.

For some, coping with these changes is an easy adjustment but for others, they can be a little more challenging. It is important to know that it is ok if you feel like you aren’t able to manage things and you can ask for help if you need it. If you are worried about your mental health or feel that you are struggling, the first step to feeling better is to talk about your feelings with someone, whether that is family, friends or a health professional. There are a range of different treatment options and support available through the NHS; talk to your Health Visitor or GP and they will be able to refer you to the right service You may feel tearful, anxious or sad (this is often called the baby blues). Your midwife will discuss this with you. Baby blues is common and the symptoms often go away without any treatment.

If you or your family notice changes in your mood or emotions that cause concern let your healthcare professional know.

Birth Afterthoughts Service

Hopefully the birth of your baby went well however, if you are troubled by anything that took place during labour and birth, please do reach out for support. At St Richard’s and Worthing Hospitals there is a service named ‘Birth Afterthoughts’ which is lead by a specially trained midwife counsellor. The service is designed to support parents during pregnancy and after the birth with any worries, questions or concerns about an upcoming or previous birth that they are struggling to understand.

Do you understand what happened and why?

Do you want to speak to a Midwife about your experience?

Are you pregnant again and have worries about this birth?

St Richard’s and Worthing Hospitals offers a confidential support service to provide emotional, psychological and holistic support for mothers and families during the antenatal and postnatal stages. This is a support service lead by a trained Midwife Counsellor to support you and your partner and does not have a time limit, so you could have had your baby years ago.

A referral to this service can be made by your health professional with your verbal consent, or by self referral. A sticker can be found on the front of your postnatal notes detailing how to contact the Midwife Counsellor at any time in the future.

If you do not have this information, please call 07876 475772.


Most babies are born healthy and stay healthy in the postnatal period. A small number of babies have problems with their health. This information will help you to identify if your baby is unwell and when you need to contact a health professional. Remember telephone triage is open 24 hours a day if you have any questions or concerns 01903 285269. If you or your baby are seriously unwell call 999

How to recognise an unwell baby

The lullaby Trust have developed ‘The Lullaby Trust Baby Check’ app. The app helps you to decide if your baby needs to see a doctor. The app can be downloaded for free from Google Play and the App Store.

Click here to see the NHS site for recognising if your baby or toddler is seriously unwell: Is your baby or toddler seriously ill? – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Baby – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Getting to know your newborn – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Special care: ill or premature babies – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Safe sleep advice Lullaby Trust

Feeding your baby

However you choose to feed your baby, preparation is key!

During pregnancy you will have a full discussion with your Midwife and Health Visitor about feeding your baby, including information on the value of breastfeeding and breastmilk for both you and your baby.  This will provide you with all the facts you need to make an informed choice.

Read more about getting off to the best start including information on how to store milk. Research shows that women who learn to hand express in pregnancy are more confident and better prepared to breastfeed their babies. UNICEF- Video- how to hand express. Colostrum breastmilk is perfectly tailored to support the development of your baby’s immune system.

Having skin to skin with your baby straight after giving birth will keep your baby warm and help to regulate their breathing. It help parents to bond with their baby and supports better physical and developmental outcomes for baby. .Skin-to-skin is holding your baby naked or with only a nappy on against your skin, usually with a blanket or towel over you both and left for at least an hour or until after the first feed.

Unicef Skin to skin page: Skin-to-skin contact – Baby Friendly Initiative (unicef.org.uk)

Unicef Building a happy baby Building a happy baby: A Guide for Parents Leaflet – Baby Friendly Initiative (unicef.org.uk)

Unicef Off to the best start leaflet Off to the best start (unicef.org.uk)

At University Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, we are working towards the stages of UNICEF’s Baby Friendly Initiative.  Read more about how this initiative supports you as new parents.

Our aim is to give you all the help and support you need during your infant feeding journey.  This can be provided by a variety of health professionals including Midwives, Health Visitors or Maternity Support Workers as well as Breastfeeding Peer Supporters too. For postnatal support please call the infant feeding team on:

  • Worthing Hopsital: 07808099816
  • St Richard’s Hospital: 07808099829

Please click here to read more about breastfeeding support groups in the community: Breastfeeding help, drop ins and courses (sussexcommunity.nhs.uk)

Vitamin K: A Guide for Parents

What is Vitamin K?

Vitamin K is a vitamin that occurs naturally in food, especially in liver and some vegetables.  We all need vitamin K.  It helps to make blood clots in order to prevent bleeding.

During early infancy when fed entirely on milk, babies have very little vitamin K.  A very small number of babies suffer bleeding due to vitamin K deficiency.  This is called Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding or VKDB for short.  This risk of bleeding is effectively removed when sufficient extra vitamin K is given to babies.

Click here to see the patient information leaflet for our sister sites Royal Sussex County Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital: Vitamin-K-deficiency-of-the-newborn.pdf (bsuh.nhs.uk)


Jaundice is the name given to yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes.  Jaundice in newborn babies is very common, is usually harmless, and usually clears up without treatment after 10 to 14 days. Your newborn baby should be checked for signs of jaundice at every opportunity, especially in the first 72 hours.  This will include looking at your naked baby in natural daylight to see if they appear yellow. Babies who develop jaundice in the first 24 hours should be checked straight away by a healthcare professional.

Newborn babies produce large quantities of the yellow pigment Bilirubin.  This is the substance that gives the yellow colour to the skin and whites of the eyes.  Bilirubin is a product of the breakdown of red blood cells. It is normally processed by the liver and passed out of the body through the bowels in faeces. Adequate hydration through regular feeding (at least every 3 hours in the first 5 days of life) will enhance this process. The skin and eyes turn yellow in jaundice because there is an increased amount of bilirubin in the blood.

A few babies will develop very high levels of bilirubin, which can be harmful if not treated.  In very rare cases, it can cause brain damage.  If you think your baby is jaundiced, the doctor or midwife will be able to help you judge whether or not the jaundice needs treating.

Further information

Newborn jaundice – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

The organisations below can provide more information and support for parents or carers of newborn babies with jaundice:

Bliss – the special care baby charity, 0500 618 140

The Breastfeeding Network, 0300 100 0212

Children’s Liver Disease Foundation, 0121 212 3839

La Leche League, 0845 120 2918

National Childbirth Trust, 0300 33 00 773

NHS Choices

Group B Streptococcus (GBS): 

Group B Streptococcus, often abbreviated as GBS, is a common bacteria that can be present in our bodies. It usually causes no harm. This situation is called carrying GBS or being colonised with GBS.

GBS is commonly found in the digestive system and the female reproductive system. GBS is not a sexually transmitted disease and most women/people carrying GBS will have no symptoms. Most pregnant women who carry GBS bacteria have healthy babies. However, there’s a small risk that GBS can pass to the baby during childbirth. Most babies are unaffected, but a small number can become infected.

Very rarely GBS infection in newborn babies can cause serious complications that can be life-threatening.

Are pregnant women tested for GBS?

Currently the evidence suggests that screening all pregnant women routinely would not be beneficial overall. You can be tested privately for GBS but professional opinion does not recommend this because a positive test may possibly result in unnecessary and potentially harmful interventions. The test involves both a vaginal and rectal swab.

As GBS can cause urine infections in pregnant women, GBS infection may be detected by taking a mid-stream urine sample, sometimes referred to as an MSU, which is then sent to a laboratory for analysis. Urine infection caused by GBS should be treated with antibiotics. An MSU is offered routinely in early pregnancy.

GBS may sometimes be detected during pregnancy in the course of taking a vaginal swab for signs of other infections. However not all vaginal swabs will detect GBS so it is important to be aware that a negative swab test does not guarantee that you are not a carrier of GBS.

If GBS is detected either in urine or swabs during your current pregnancy you will be offered intravenous antibiotics in labour.

Click here for the NHS guide to GBS in pregnancy: What are the risks of group B streptococcus (GBS) infection during pregnancy? – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Click here for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) guide: Group B Streptococcus (GBS) in pregnancy and newborn babies | RCOG

Click here for the Group B Streptococcus Support page: Group B Strep and pregnancy – Group B Strep Support (gbss.org.uk)

Safer sleep for babies

Caring for a young baby who wakes up in the night can be exhausting and sometimes this can make following safer sleep practices difficult. With the support of Public Health England, a new animation has been created to

help reassure parents or carers that it is completely normal for young babies to wake during the night. No matter how hard it seems now, it won’t last forever!  https://youtu.be/oRXq7kBO-3A

To help keep your baby safe and to reduce the risk of sudden infant death which is very rare, please read advice from The Lullaby Trust.

For those whose baby was born prematurely, The Lullaby Trust have also produced some information about safer sleeping for premature babies. Read more about this on The Lullaby Trust Website.

The Lullaby Trust have produced the below video to provide parents and carers with the best evidence based advice of safer sleeping for babies for every sleep.


Lift The Baby is a campaign produced in partnership between the NHS and The Lullaby Trust and is aimed at promoting safer sleeping. The video below was created with a theme targeted towards dads and partners however, the advice it gives is relevant to anyone caring for a baby.  https://youtu.be/vtdLc6MtOxo

Quitting for Two. Every cigarette harms your baby. Cigarettes restrict the essential oxygen supply to your baby, so their tiny heart has to beat harder every time you smoke.

Top Tips

  • Anyone can get nicotine replacement therapy, or NRT, free on prescription with stop smoking service support.
  • Ideally in pregnancy, you should try to give up smoking without the use NRT. The risks to your unborn baby are far less than from continuing to smoke.
  • If for whatever reason you go back to smoking after you have given birth and want to try stopping again you can still get free NRT until your baby’s first birthday.
  • E-cigarettes aren’t risk free but they are much less harmful than smoking. if using an e-cigarette helps you to stay smoke free in pregnancy, it is much safer for you and your baby than by smoking.

Smoking – Little Lullaby 

Click to read NHS.UK information on how to care for your newborn baby including information on:

Read here for more information about the early days with your baby NHS.UK



Sands is the leading stillbirth and neonatal death charity in the UK. Sands exists to reduce the number of babies dying and to ensure that anyone affected by the death of a baby receives the best possible care and support for as long as they need it. Sands | Stillbirth and neonatal death charity

Immunisations GOV.UK

Your Specialist Public Health Nurse (Health Visitor) will be informed of the birth of your baby and will be in touch within the first 10 days. If you have not heard from them contact your local healthy child programme team. Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust – Services

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 child’s appointments are by your GP surgery.

The below graphic, shows a timeline of childhood immunisations and vaccinations, including when they will be given and for what illnesses or diseases.

Coping with a crying baby                                                   

The first few weeks and months with a new baby can be challenging and it can be especially overwhelming when you are struggling to soothe a crying baby.

It is important to remember that crying is normal behaviour for babies and it will stop.  It is their only way of communicating their wants and needs. Common reasons that a baby might cry include:

  • Hunger.
  • Tiredness.
  • Wind.
  • Dirty or wet nappy.
  • Being too hot or cold.
  • They need your touch and comfort.

What can I do to help my baby?

Comfort methods can sometimes soothe the baby and the crying will stop.

Babies can cry for reasons such as if they are hungry, tired, wet/dirty or if they are unwell.

Check these basic needs and try some simple calming techniques:

  • Talk calmly, hum or sing to your baby.
  • Let them hear a repeating or soothing sound.
  • Hold them close – skin to skin.
  • Go for a walk outside with your baby in the garden.
  • Give them a warm bath.

These techniques may not always work.  It may take a combination or more than one attempt to soothe your baby.

If you think there is something wrong with your baby or the crying won’t stop speak to your GP, Midwife or Health Visitor.  If you are worried that your baby is unwell call NHS 111.


The NSPCC have created a leaflet giving information and advice on coping with a crying baby and how to keep your baby safe.  Click the link to download a copy:  Handle with Care: Keeping baby safe

ICON Help and support


Congratulations on the birth of your baby!

We have produced short videos on topics covering all the advice you need to make a full and speedy recovery after the birth of your baby. Pelvic Health Physiotherapy – YouTube

Or search YouTube for the following: UHSussex Pelvic Floor Exercises, UHSussex Caesarean Advice, UHSussex Recovery Following a Tear in Childbirth

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Pelvic Health Physiotherapy Department on 01903-285014

Self-referral to Pelvic Health Physiotherapy

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. However, if they persist beyond 3-4 weeks, please complete a self referral form so we can assess you in the outpatient pelvic health physiotherapy department. Other symptoms that can also develop are back or neck pain, due to changes in your posture whilst feeding or carrying your baby. If these symtoms persist you can also self refer to physiotherapy for help with this. Please use the link below for a self-referral form. Please note: If you live in the Chichester area, your form should be sent to the Worthing address to be processed. New-Referral-SCT-style-Sept-2020-1.docx (live.com)

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’s 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. For more information about what to expect at the 6 week postnatal check please read the NHS.UK links below:

The government recommends all children aged 6 months to 5 years are given vitamin supplements containing vitamin A, C and D everyday. For more information please click NHS.UK


It is an individual choice when to recommence sexual intercourse after giving birth. It is possible to become pregnant again very soon after having a baby therefore, contraception is something you need to think about. You can potentially become pregnant before your periods return. At St Richards and Worthing Hospitals we offer insertion of the contraceptive coil for some women whilst still inpatients after the birth. Please discuss with your midwife if you feel this might be a preference.

Sex and contraception after giving birth- NHS.UK includes information about:

  • tips for starting sex again after birth
  • contraception after having a baby
  • contraception and breastfeeding

Read NHS.UK information about contraception options after giving birth

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. Please read the links below:


The only way to protect babies and children from secondhand smoke is to keep the environment around them smoke free. Second hand smoke contains more than 4,000 irritants, toxins and cancer causing substances. Passive smoking is exceptionally harmful for children as their lungs, airways and immune systems are not fully developed. Please read this information about the risks to babies and children that include sudden infant death syndrome (cot death). Since 2015 it has been illegal to smoke in any vehicle with anyone under the age of 18. Click here to read information from GOV.UK

Alcohol and Substance use

Being a parent can be a wonderful and rewarding experience, but it can also be very stressful at times. Some parents may use alcohol or drugs to help relieve stress. However, this can cause serious harm not only your health, but potentially also affect other members of the family including babies and children.

Although you may not wish to talk to anyone about your alcohol or drug use, it is important to seek support for the benefit of you and those around you including your children.

Registering a birth

All births in England, Wales and Northern Ireland must be registered within 42 days of the child being born.

You should do this at the local register office for the area where the baby was born.  If you can’t register the birth in the area where the baby was born, you can go to another register office and they will send your details to the correct office.

For more information read the GOV.UK register a birth page.


After birth, where can I get information?

There are lots of sources of information and services to support you: 

  • Your Health Visitor, as part of the Healthy Child Programme will be able to provide you with information on staying healthy and looking after your child.
  • The Health Visiting Service provides ParentLine, a dedicated text service for patients/carers of children aged 0-5 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-4.30pm, except for bank holidays and weekends.
  • 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, focussing on different topics.
  • You can find advice and support for slightly older children on the Health for Kids! and Health for Teens websites. These award-winning websites are designed to teach children and young people about their physical and mental health in a fun and engaging way, helping them make choices that support their wellbeing.



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