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Postnatal care with GP at Hand

Have you just had a baby or about to have one? Or are you supporting someone who has?

At Babylon, we know having a baby can be daunting as well as exciting which is why we have just launched a new service for our GP at Hand patients led by our Women’s Health Lead Dr Elise Dallas to support you through all aspects of your postnatal care.

This will include everything from

  • Face to face appointments: you and your baby will need as part of routine postnatal care to childhood immunisations
  • 24/7 doctor in your pocket! 365 days a year
  • Maternity Mental health support for new parents
  • Access to Women’s Health physiotherapy
  • Community support - We’ve teamed up with Tinto, a free app designed to give you and your baby support from like-minded new mums and health and wellbeing experts

We want your journey to be as smooth as possible so if you register with GP at Hand, you can then sit back and wait for us to proactively contact you to book in your postnatal appointments. Pretty handy when you’ve just had a new baby.

Interested? Read on below to find out more.

General Postnatal FAQs

I’ve just had a baby, what next?

Firstly, congratulations! We know that having a baby can be as overwhelming as it is exciting but we are happy to support you and your baby to get the best care possible.

Here at Babylon GP at Hand we cover all the routine postnatal care that you expect from the NHS but with the added convenience of being able to contact us 24/7 for any advice or concerns you may have about your new baby.

This page covers the services you'll get from Babylon GP at Hand after having your baby. It will also provide you with some information about what to expect during your postnatal care over the first couple of months. 

    What are the first steps I need to take?

    Once you have had your baby we welcome you to register your child with us. Did you know that we offer all NHS postnatal checks including immunisations at our clinics? These checks are very important for you to attend to support the health and wellbeing of you and your child after birth.

    The following information will help you understand the process of registering your baby with us and find out more about the checks that are offered.

    If you choose to register your child elsewhere, then please do let us know of this as soon as possible.

    Who looks after me and my baby in the postnatal period?

    Postnatal care is often shared between midwives, health visitors and GPs. In the first week or two after you have given birth you will receive postnatal care from the midwives and health visitors (as home visits) attached to your local maternity unit. This may not be the one where you have had your baby. The Health Visitor should give all new babies a Red Book which you will bring to the postnatal baby and immunisation appointments.

    Their care is then handed over to the GP who will see you and your baby between 6-8 weeks for a postnatal check at one of our clinics. At 8 weeks your baby will have their immunisations.

    What happens in the first 1-2 Weeks?

    First midwife visit:

    • This is in the first 36 hours after the transfer of care from the place of birth or home birth
    • The visit should be face-to-face and is usually at the woman's home, depending on her living situation and preferences.

    First health visitor visit:

    • This is between 7 and 14 days after transfer of care from the midwives
    • The visit should be face-to-face and is usually at the woman's home, depending on her living situation and preferences.

    What happens in the first 6-8 weeks?

    Postnatal check for mother with GP

    • This is a routine check by a GP at 6-8 weeks post delivery to make sure that you are recovering well. Ideally this will be done within the same double GP appointment with your child at their 6-8 week check (see below)
    • They will also discuss contraception with you, and you may be offered an assessment of any wounds or your blood pressure. It’s really important to raise any concerns or questions you may have, particularly if you are struggling with your mood after giving birth.

    Child 6-8 week check with GP:

    • This is a routine check at 6-8 weeks by a GP to review your child and make sure they are developing normally.
    • Your child will also be weighed at this appointment and have their head circumference measured. Their body length may also be measured if required. Remember to bring your baby’s Red Book for these measurements to be recorded.
    • It is also a chance for you to ask any questions you may have.

    What happens at 8 weeks?

    Immunisations with the practice nurse

    • Immunisations are important to protect your child from various illnesses such as measles, rubella and meningitis.
    • Remember to bring your baby’s Red Book for this to be recorded. It is important that the first set of immunisations is not given before 8 weeks.
    • You can find more information about childhood immunisation on the GP at Hand website here.

    We will try our best to offer you all these appointments on the same day. However, if there isn’t availability in the same slot then we will try to ensure the appointments are as close to each other as possible. 

      FAQs about the GP at Hand Service

      How do I decide whether to continue my postnatal care with Babylon GP at Hand?

      When you have had your baby you will need to attend at least 3 face-to-face postnatal appointments.

      • Mother postnatal check (between week 6-8) with a GP
      • Baby postnatal check (between week 6-8) with a GP
      • Baby immunisations (at 8 weeks) with a nurse

      All our GPs are trained in how to do postnatal assessments and our practice nurses are confident in delivering immunisations.

      These appointments will always be at one of our clinics and sometimes we can do these 3 appointments all together at 8 weeks.

      You may want to consider a few things when deciding whether to register with Babylon GP at Hand, including:

      • The distance and ease of travelling to home and work from Babylon GP at Hand clinics with a new baby.
      • If you have other physical or psychological health care needs. This is because conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure will mean you need to attend more GP or hospital appointments.

      If you decide to register your baby with GP at Hand, you will also have the added bonus of 24/7 digital care. 365 days a year, pretty handy when you have a new baby.

      If you have any questions about whether the service is right for you, give us a call on 0330 8082217

        What additional Services are available with Babylon GP at Hand?

        We have a whole team of clinicians who can support you at different parts of your journey including:

        • Maternity Mental Health Practitioners: They are available to speak to you about any mental health concerns you may have. They help create a safe space for you to speak about how you’re feeling and can support you to access further help too. We even have a few practitioners who have direct experience working in perinatal mental health.
        • Women’s Health Physiotherapists: Your body may not feel like you’re used to after giving birth. Whether it’s a pelvic floor troubling you or a muscular injury flared up by pregnancy (or carrying your newborn!) our physiotherapy team are here to help.
        • Babylon Clinical Team: We also have Advanced Nurse Practitioners and Prescribing Pharmacists who work alongside our GPs to give you the best possible care.
        • Community Support: Practices within North West London are working with Tinto to give all pregnant and postnatal women and partners support throughout this new chapter of your life.
        • Tinto is a free app that provides personalised help for you and your baby and you may find it a good extra layer of support to have in this new time.

        How do I register my child with GP at Hand?

        To make sure that your routine postnatal appointments take place at the right time, please register your child with GP at Hand or an alternative practice as soon as possible.

        We want your journey to be as smooth as possible so if you register with GP at Hand, you can then sit back and wait for us to proactively contact you to book your postnatal appointments in.

        FAQs about Postnatal Physiotherapy

        Who can I talk to about my concerns?

        After you have had a baby, you may find you may notice some changes in your body which a physiotherapist can help you with. This includes pelvic floor problems, diastasis (when there is separation of the muscles in your tummy), questions about exercise and more.

        Linda Issacs, Babylon Physiotherapist with a special interest in Women’s Health has answered some of the most common questions she gets in her clinic below.

        When can I exercise after childbirth?

        Being active is great for your body, but remember it has just been on a big journey, and is still recovering from all the changes it has gone through. It's important to build up to your pre-pregnancy fitness safely and slowly.

        Start with walks with your baby, and do your all important pelvic floor muscle exercises first. After your 6 week check you could try introducing postnatal specific yoga or pilates. Don't be tempted to try anything more high impact too soon, like aerobics classes, jumping or running.

        Remember that many new mums are very tired so don't push yourself too much and listen to your body. People heal at different rates so do not compare yourself to others if you're not feeling ready for anything more than caring for your baby, walking and pelvic floor exercises.

        Why do I have to do pelvic floor exercises after I have a baby?

        During pregnancy it is common to develop urinary incontinence (leaking of urine). One of the most common causes for this is weak pelvic floor muscles due to the increasing weight of the baby, followed by the delivery. You can still experience this even if you have a caesarean section birth.

        The pelvic floor muscles span the bottom of your pelvis, between your legs,from the tailbone to the pubic bone. They are a muscle similar to others in the body and if you don't use them you lose them! It's really important to keep them strong as they support the uterus and help control the bladder and bowel.

        Pelvic floor exercises are the first line of treatment for any urinary incontinence problem. Even if you don’t experience any leaking, NICE guidelines still recommend women complete regular pelvic floor exercises in their first and subsequent pregnancies to reduce the risk of the condition developing.

        Physiotherapists advise doing your pelvic floor muscle exercises three times a day.

        What can I do about tummy separation when I'm pregnant and beyond?

        Tummy separation occurs when the two halves of the Rectus abdominis muscle (the six pack muscle) separates where it joins in the middle, as your bump grows and can't stretch any more. This is known as Diastasis Rectus Abdominus Muscle (DRAM). It can occur anywhere between your rib cage to below the belly button.

        While pregnant or after you may notice a gap when feeling the centre of the tummy. You may see a bulging/doming in the centre of your tummy when you sit up from lying down. You may feel tenderness in the area after being active.

        How can you help:

        - avoid sitting up forwards from lying, and instead roll onto your side and push yourself up with your arms.

        - Initially limit strenuous activity like lifting/bending/twisting until the muscles get stronger.

        - engage pelvic floor muscles when lifting your baby or other heavy objects.

        - avoid exercises like sit ups,crunches and planks as this works the rectus abdominis muscle and can make the tummy separation worse until you build up strength.

        - avoid constipation and try putting your feet on a small stool when opening your bowels to avoid straining.

        FAQs about Postnatal Mental Health

        Who can I talk to about my concerns?

        Talking about your mental health is so important, especially in this time of change. We have loads of people you can talk to at Babylon about your mental health, from GPs at your 6-8 week check to Mental Health Practitioners through our app and everyone in between.

        Beryl Chakahwata,Babylon Mental Health Practitioner with 5 years experience of working in perinatal mental health teams, answers some of the common questions she sees in her clinic below.

        What are perinatal mental health problems?

        A 'perinatal' mental health problem is one that you experience any time from becoming pregnant up to a year after you give birth.

        Having a baby is a big life event. It's natural to experience a range of emotions during pregnancy and after giving birth. But if any difficult feelings start to have a big effect on your day-to-day life, you might be experiencing a perinatal mental health problem.

        This may be a new mental health problem, or an episode of a problem you've experienced in the past.

        What does a Perinatal Mental Health Nurse do?

        The role of the Perinatal Mental Health Nurse is to support women during pregnancy and the postnatal period. They can help you look out for signs of mental illness. They can advise you on how to cope with any symptoms or worries you may have. They can also help you to develop your relationship and confidence with your baby.

        Perinatal Mental Health Nurses have detailed understanding of the roles of other professionals, such as midwives and health visitors, who work with women at this time and they can signpost you to other services like your local family centre if required.

        We know that if left untreated, mental illness can have a significant and long-lasting impact on women and their families so it is important to arrange an appointment with a clinician as soon as possible when you feel unwell for an assessment in so that for you can receive treatment and support as early as possible

        The perinatal period is often a window of opportunity for managing mental health problems early to prevent avoidable suffering and isolation, strengthen families and ensure children have a healthy start in life.

        Is it safe to take antidepressants and other medication for a mental health problem in pregnancy?

        It is always important to think about the possible effect that any medication taken by a pregnant woman may have on an unborn baby. This includes drugs that are used to treat mental illness.

        However, some medication is safe to take in pregnancy. Discuss with your GP who can tell you directly or take advice from local mental health services as needed.

        Make sure you do not stop taking medications for your mental health suddenly without consulting a clinician first.

        What is the difference between baby blues and postpartum depression?

        In cases of Baby Blues your mood swings quickly from happy to sad. One minute, you’re proud of the job that you’re doing as a new mum and the next you can get tearful because you think you’re not up to the task. You don’t feel like eating or taking care of yourself because you’re exhausted. You feel irritable, overwhelmed, and may feel anxious.

        These feelings often begin when your newborn is just 2 or 3 days old, but you’re likely to feel better by the time your baby is 1 or 2 weeks old.

        If your feelings of sadness last longer than this,or become worse instead of better, you may have postpartum depression. You’re more likely to have postpartum depression if you’ve already had bouts of depression or if it runs in your family.

        It is advised to speak to a healthcare professional if you are feeling like this so you can get the right help sooner.

        I am struggling to bond with my baby - what can I do?

        Not feeling immediately bonded with your baby doesn’t make you a bad parent. In fact, as long as your newborn’s immediate needs like feeding, cuddling and changing are being met your baby is probably perfectly content (and may already start to feel bonded with you!).

        Where can I get some more information?

        Sources of advice and support The NHS website provides up to date information about your healthcare journey in easy to read pages. Just use the search button to look for your topic of choice and you’ll be directed to relevant sources. A great resource for finding patient information leaflets on medications you may be taking with information specific to pregnancy and breastfeeding Very useful booklet on when you should worry - for children over 3months old and Really helpful resources on crying in babies and how to access support.

        Excellent resources on baby feeding and sleep and so much more for healthcare for babies, their mothers and families in the UK - Tinto is a free app that provides personalised help for you and your baby and you may find it a good extra layer of support to have in this new time.