Care after birth
In most cases you can expect to take your baby home between 6 and 48 hours following a normal vaginal delivery, or after 3 days following a caesarean birth. When you are ready to go home it is important to provide the staff with plenty of notice, as there are many things that have to be organised and planned prior to your discharge.
It is important to schedule a review appointment within 5 to 7 days following the birth, for both yourself and your baby, then again at 6 weeks after birth.
Tests and medicines for your newborn
After your baby is born, you will be asked to consent for your baby to have some vaccinations and screening tests. These may include:
Hepatitis B vaccination
The National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia recommend that all Australian babies are vaccinated against Hepatitis B. The first vaccination is offered before you leave hospital with your baby. A further three doses are given from two months of age onward, using combination vaccines when other vaccines are due. The four doses are recommended to provide long-term protection against the disease.
You will be given an information sheet about Hepatitis B and if you would like your baby to have this vaccination, you will need to sign a consent form. Please ask your midwife or doctor if you have any questions or for further information, visit the Parenting and Child Health website.
Vitamin K is necessary to help blood clot and is essential to prevent serious bleeding. There is a rare disease called Haemorrhagic disease of the newborn which can be prevented by giving babies a dose of Vitamin K at birth. The most common way to give this is by one injection soon after birth. It may also be given orally but three doses are required to give protection as Vitamin K is not well absorbed orally.
Medical recommendations are that all babies receive Vitamin K, as this is a very simple way to prevent this rare disorder. You will receive information about Vitamin K throughout your pregnancy or for further information, visit the Parenting and Child Health website.
Universal newborn hearing screening
The Healthy Hearing Program aims to detect permanent hearing impairment by providing free screening to babies. Ideally the screening happens before you leave hospital with your baby.
For further information, visit the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening website.
Newborn screening test (heel prick)
The newborn screening test is performed when babies are about 48 hours old. The test screens for rare health conditions to ensure problems are detected early ensuring prompt diagnosis and treatment.
For more information visit the Health Direct, Australia website.