Maternity week.

The first eight days after delivery are called the postnatal period. This is a special period in which you will get to know your baby; an intense and emotional week. Regrettably the baby is not born with instructions for use, which means that in the first week you are trying to discover the baby’s requirements. This is a lovely time of discovery during which you are continuously getting to know your baby better.

Physically mother and child have to recuperate after delivery. Babies can feel sick and even have a headache. A mother is often tired after delivery and can have physical complaints. Even if you have just a few complaints it is wise to spend a lot of time in bed for a few days so that you body can recuperate. Allow your care giver and partner to cosset you!

Usually you will be at home during the postnatal period. Sometimes it is necessary to stay in the hospital for the first few days after the delivery, for example, if you have had a caesarean section or if you have lost a lot of blood or have high blood pressure. In that case the maternity nurses in the maternity department will take care of you. When you are discharged from hospital we will take on your care again and visit you at home.

Kind in gestreepte doeken.

Read (in preparation), the brochure ‘The first 24 hours after birth.’

Who visits you

  • Midwife We will visit you about 3 times during the postnatal period. Usually on the 2nd, 4th and 7th day, but this depends on how things are going. If it is necessary we will visit you every day. During our visit we will discuss the delivery, see how things are with you and the baby and answer any questions you may have. We will judge your recuperation by checking your womb, seeing if the sutures, if you had any, are healing well and seeing how your breasts are coping with milk production. We will also keep our eye on the weight and general condition of your baby.
  • Maternity care The maternity nurse will be present for a few hours per day to help you looking after the baby, feeding the baby and seeing to it that you can recuperate after the pregnancy and delivery.
  • GP (general practitioner) After the delivery we will inform your family doctor about the birth. Some GPs come by for a visit then.
  • GGD (Area Health Authority) Between the 5th and the 7th day an employee of the youth health care authority (consultation bureau) will come by to do the heel prick (PKU test). They take a few drops of blood from the heel of the baby in order to test it for 17 rare but serious diseases. A hearing test will also be taken for the baby. During the test a short stick that gives a rattling sound is inserted in the ear of the baby. With the tester attached to the stick the employee can see if the ears of the baby are working as they should. This test is not unpleasant for the baby.
  • Visitors It is a good idea not to invite too many visitors in the first week. The days will be mostly filled with looking after the baby, feeding it and having all sorts of things explained by the maternity care giver. It is also highly recommended to have an afternoon nap as the baby will wake up many more times during the night. Visitors in the first week are sometimes experienced as a burden rather than a pleasure.

What you must organise in the first week

  • Someone who was present at the birth should register the birth of the baby at the local town hall. This must be done within 3 working days after the birth. Don’t forget to take an identity card and if necessary a marriage certificate or proof of recognition with you. It is not necessary to take proof of birth along.
  • Register the baby within a week after birth with the insurance company.
  • During the first few days keep all the nappies (diapers) of the baby. The maternity care giver will want to see them to be able to judge how much the baby urinates and defecates. This will tell her something about how much the baby is drinking.


Groeigids Kraam.You’ll receive the ‘Growth Guide Postnatal period’ from the Maternity care agency. This book contains a lot of practical information about the first week and several work sheets.