The first week after the birth

Find out what you can expect in the first week after your pēpi is born. This includes how you may feel, visits from whānau and friends, going home, and recovering from the birth.

How you may feel

Giving birth is a tiring and emotional event. You may feel tired for the first few days and getting plenty of rest will help. You may be feeling overjoyed to finally hold your pēpi in your arms, scared, or both.

Your midwife, or the midwife working on behalf of your doctor, is there to support you. Ask for help when you need it.

Going home

If you have your pēpi in hospital you may be able to return home with them soon after the birth. You might also stay in hospital for a couple of days. The length of your stay depends on what you want and how you and your pēpi are doing after the birth. 

Before leaving hospital or the birthing centre both you and your pēpi will be checked to make sure that you are healthy and well. Your midwife will also talk with you about visiting you at home over the coming days and weeks.

Remember that you need to have a car seat available to take your pēpi home.

Visits from whānau and friends

After your pēpi is born your whānau and friends will want to visit. It is up to you to decide when you are ready for visitors.

If you do not want any visitors for the first few days after pēpi is born, let your whānau and friends know. You could also ask them to phone or text first to check that it is OK to visit.

The baby blues

Most people who have given birth get the 'baby blues' around 3 to 5 days after the birth. But some people do not get the baby blues until the second week after pēpi is born. Having the baby blues does not mean you will get postnatal depression (PND), but its good to know the signs of PND in case it comes up later. 

Postnatal depression — Ministry of Health (external link)

Recovering from the birth

Vaginal birth

You are likely to be sore for a couple of weeks, especially if you have stitches or tearing. Getting enough rest is important. But this can sometimes be difficult until you settle into your new normal with your pēpi. Partners and whānau can help with pēpi and take care of the housework so that you can rest and recover.

Your back will be weaker than before you were pregnant, so avoid heavy lifting. Remember to ask for help when you need it.

Your midwife will check your recovery over the coming weeks.

Caesarean section

It takes longer to recover from a caesarean section than it does from a vaginal birth. Your midwife or doctor will let you know when you can go home from hospital.

They will check your recovery over the coming weeks. They will let you know when it is safe for you to drive and to start lifting and carrying things again. This can take up to 6 weeks. It is important that partners and whānau help with pēpi and take care of the housework so that you can rest and recover.

Look after yourself

It is important to look after yourself after pēpi is born. You need to get as much rest and sleep as you can, eat and drink well, and ask for help when you need it. 

Looking after yourself — Ministry of Health (external link)