New mums in the UK are not presented with a bill when they leave the hospital, and they leave armed with lots of information too (info on contraception, safe sleeping etc, see below). Each baby is given an National Hospital Services (NHS) number and some hospitals have registrars on site where the baby’s birth can be registered for a birth certificate.
Advice is given on contraception, safe sleeping and post natal exercise. This advice is given from the midwife, the GP (at the six week postnatal check), physiotherapists and health visitors. Breastfeeding support is given at the hospital and many midwives prefer to discharge only when mother and baby are feeding well. Additional support can be sought from health visitors and the NHS itself ( see http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/breastfeeding-help-support.aspx), with advice and drop in sessions available in most areas, in addition to trained supporters who can be reached over the telephone. Once discharged, a community midwife will visit the family home the next day to talk to the mum and to check that all is well with the baby. After around ten days, the midwife will discharge mother and baby and the health visitors will take over the care, up until the age of five.
After all of this, I feel incredibly lucky to live in the UK and to have had my children here. My maternity experiences have not been perfect but the care that I have received has been mostly on par with any private hospital. Thanks to the NHS it has not cost me a penny to become the mother of three wonderful children. I have felt supported and cared for during my pregnancies and I firmly believe that our health care system will weather its current storm.
Find out more information on your rights:
- The official NHS site (http://www.nhs.uk/Pages/HomePage.aspx)
- The Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services (AIMS: http://www.aims.org.uk/)
- NICE (http://www.nice.org.uk/) .