Postnatal Care

Useful Contacts

Postnatal Ward 0191 445 2153
Children’s Centres 0191 4338515
NHS Direct 08454647

Children’s centres are a new way of offering services for children under five and their parents and carers. 

Ask your community midwife about other groups in your area



We endeavour to maintain a high level of security. All staff wear identification badges. At The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, we practice “rooming in”, where your baby stays with you at all times. Access to the Postnatal Ward is through a security door, which can only be opened by a member of staff. Visitors must sign in and out at the reception, and there is closed circuit television.

Visiting Times

We ask that all visitors adhere to visiting times, to ensure rest for mothers, to provide optimum care, and to maintain security and reduce infection. The times are:

10.00 – 19.45hrs for partners and own children only
14.00 – 15.00hrs & 18.30 – 19.30hrs for all other visitors

No more than 3 people are permitted at each bedside at any one time. This includes women’s own children.

Meal Times


7.45 – 10.00hrs is self-service available in the Patients’ day-room      


12noon served in your room

Evening Meal

18.00hrs served in your room

Snack-boxes are available if you have missed a meal. Please let one of the staff know if you would like one.

Hot drinks are available throughout the day for patients.


Hospedia TV and Telephone service is available at each bed. Cards can be purchased from the machine within the ward area. We would ask you to consider your neighbours in the ward when using Hospedia. Alternatively, there is a TV in the Patients’ day-room

Infant Feeding

Breastfeeding is the healthiest method of feeding for both you and your baby. However all staff will support you in your chosen method of feeding. If you wish to artificially feed your baby then you will need to bring ready-made cartons of formula milk, three bottles with teats and a bottle brush with you to the hospital. The postnatal ward will supply you with a steriliser for the duration of your hospital stay.

Hearing Screening Test

All babies will be offered a hearing screening test prior to discharge home.

Newborn Blood Spot Screening Test

A blood test is offered for all babies when they are 5 days old. 


A photographer from Baby’s First Portrait, a division of Tempest Photography, visits the ward 3 times per week, to take your baby’s photograph if you wish. Further information is available throughout the ward area.

Postnatal Care – Mother

You will have regular contact with health care professionals after the birth of your baby. They will advise and support you as required. We have included some signs and symptoms of problems that can sometimes occur. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact a midwife.

Important advice:

Signs and Symptoms

  • Sudden heavy blood loss or persistent increased blood loss. You may also experience feeling faint, dizzy, or having palpitations or rapid heartbeat.
  • Fever, shivering, abdominal pain, and / or offensive vaginal loss
  • Headaches accompanied by one or more of the following within 72 hours of birth:
    • Visual disturbances
    • Nausea, vomiting
  • Pain in the calf, redness or swelling and/or shortness of breath or chest pain

What to do

Contact health care professional immediately. Contact numbers given at the top of this page.

Postnatal Care – Baby

The midwives will also offer information and advice to assist you in caring for your baby, and to recognise potential concerns. Some of these are illustrated below.

Passing first stool in newborn babies

If a newborn baby hasn’t passed meconium (the first stool of newborn babies) within 24 hours following birth.

You should get emergency medical attention

Important advice:


  • Yellowish colouring of the skin and eyes, or pale stools.
    • Contact your health professional
  • Jaundice at age 24 hours or older.
    • Your baby’s health and well-being should be monitored
  • Jaundice at age 7 – 14 days
    • Your baby should be assessed by your health professional
  • Jaundice in breastfeeding babies
    • Feed your baby often, and wake your baby to feed if necessary. You should not top up with formula milk, water or dextrose water.

Jaundice in the first 24 hours of birth

Get emergency medical attention

Important advice:

Nappy rash

  • Avoid using bubble baths, medicated wipes and harsh detergents. Use only mild detergents and fabric softeners. You may be offered antifungal cream or gel if the nappy rash persists or becomes painful.
Important advice:

Thrush in the mouth or on the bottom

  • You will be given advice about relevant hygiene practices. If the thrush is causing feeding problems, or you or your baby are in pain, you should be offered antifungal cream or gel.
Important advice:

Constipation in a bottle fed baby

  • Your health professional will check the preparation quantity, frequency and composition of feeds.
Important advice:


  • Your health professional will check your baby and offer advice
Important advice:

Excessive and inconsolable crying

  • Your health professional will offer reassurance and check for possible causes, including colic.
Important advice:


  • Your health professional will offer reassurance. It may help to hold your baby during a crying episode or to speak with other people in the same situation.
Important advice:

Colic in a bottle fed baby

  • You may be offered a special type of formula milk, to be used under the supervision of your health professional

If you have your baby in hospital the length of your stay in hospital will be discussed with you. Prior to going home, your baby will receive a medical examination by a paediatrician or midwife, and details entered into your Child Health Record Book.

Contraception services

Leaflets are available on the ward, and a midwife will also discuss contraception with you.

On Leaving

Before you leave the ward, please ensure that you have:-

  • all your belongings
  • informed the midwife if you are going home to a different address
  • collected any medication that has been prescribed for you
  • documentation for the community midwife
  • a baby seat already fitted in the car as per manufacturer’s instructions.

We will inform your community midwife and GP of your delivery and departure from the hospital.  

Birth Registration

You are required by law to register the birth of your baby within 42 days (six weeks) of delivery. This should be done at Gateshead Civic Centre by appointment with the Registrar, by telephoning 0191 4332207 / 4332208.

Health Visitor

The health visitor will visit you and your baby within the first three weeks of delivery. 

6 Week Postnatal Examination

This is normally carried out at your GP’s surgery, but occasionally, an appointment may be made for you to return to the hospital. Your health visitor will be able to advise you.

Useful contacts

Postnatal Ward Tel: 0191 445 2153 (24 hours)
Ask your community midwife about other groups in your area

NHS Direct Tel: 08454647

Data Protection

Any personal information is kept confidential. There may be occasions where your information needs to shared with other care professionals to ensure you receive the best care possible.

In order to assist us improve the services available your information may be used for clinical audit, research, teaching and anonymised for National NHS Reviews. Further information is available in the leaflet Disclosure of Confidential Information IL137, via Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust website or the PALS Service.


NICE (2006) Routine Postnatal Care of Women and their Babies. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

UK National Screening Committee (2007) NHS Antenatal and Newborn Screening Programmes.

Screening Tests for you and your Baby.

This leaflet can be made available in other languages and formats upon request