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Keeping you and your baby healthy

It's important to look after yourself as well as your new baby and don't be afraid to ask for help if you feel overwhelmed. Being a new parent can be daunting, its normal to feel a mix of emotions. Giving birth also affects your physical health and recovery will take time. In this section you can find more information on keeping you and your baby healthy during the first year.

Recovering from birth

Visit Bump, Birth and Beyond to find out more about the first weeks with your new baby and care you will receive from the midwifery services. Recovery after birth will take time depending on the type of birth you had, even with a straight forward vaginal birth you will need time heal. It's important to let your body recover.

Emotional wellbeingEven if your birth was uncomplicated, you may be finding adjusting to becoming a parent to your newborn a struggle at times. If things were difficult in labour and you or your baby needed emergency assistance or you are feeling traumatised by your birth experience, you may need extra support to cope with what has happened.

Birth trauma

About 30,000 people have a traumatic birth in the UK each year. Instead of their pregnancy and birth being joyful and a happy event, their experience of giving birth was difficult and left them feeling vulnerable and distressed. A traumatic birth can result if things happen that you weren't prepared for, feeling out of control, or if you and or your baby's health was impacted or threatened. Partners and birth partners can also experience birth trauma. Recovery from birth trauma is an ongoing process and takes time. The important thing is to be able to talk to those around you about how you are feeling. If your mood is low and does not seem to be improving a couple of weeks after the birth, or if you are struggling with your thoughts and feelings, reach out for support. Your hospital can give you the opportunity to debrief your birth, helping you to make sense of the birth and the medical interventions that took place, with an independent midwife who wasn't involved with your care. If any aspect of your reproductive journey, birth or feeding your child feels or felt traumatic to you, speak to your health visitor or GP.

Health visitors ask every parent about their mental health and wellbeing, how they are feeling and coping with their new baby at every visit, and a longer discussion takes place at your six to eight-week visit but you can reach out at any time if you're struggling. Your health visitor can listen to you and either talk things through and offer you support themselves and/or signpost you to other support including talking therapies. NHS talking or psychological therapies, are effective and confidential treatments delivered by fully trained and accredited NHS practitioners. They can help with common mental health problems like stress, anxiety and depression.

You can find more support in our mental wellbeing section including a recording of local mothers talking about their experiences with mental health issues. Hearing from real women and men who have had mental wellbeing difficulties around the time of pregnancy, childbirth and beyond can be very helpful.

You can also talk to a trained and caring team 24/7 via the Release the Pressure service. Text the word 'Kent' to 85258 or call freephone 0800 107 0160. Find more information at or in an emergency call 999.

Keeping fit and wellGetting through those early weeks and months can be tough with a new baby. Even as your child gets older you'll probably find you have less time to prioritise your own needs - a healthy diet, exercise and sleep can all get disrupted. If you can, talk to your partner about ways you can both have some time and space as well as enjoy quality time together. Keeping yourself fit and well is important for your family - you can't pour from an empty cup.

Take your baby out for a walk or head to the park, you'll both enjoy it. Catch up on sleep when you can. Accept help from your family and friends - taking a break occasionally or getting support with chores will give you more time and energy to dedicate to bonding with your baby. Having a baby means facing new challenges and you might feel like you could be doing a better job. Be kind to yourself - you'll get more confident each day. Keep talking to your partner and share that emotional load - you're both adjusting to being parents and supporting each other through that will help your relationship flex and stay strong.

Your pelvic floor muscles work hard during pregnancy and come under a lot of strain during childbirth. You can strengthen these muscles by doing pelvic floor exercises to reduce or avoid stress incontinence after pregnancy.

You can find local support below.

Keeping your baby healthy

Keeping baby healthyKeeping your baby healthy is one of your top priorities as a parent. You can find some top tips below, but check out our feeding and caring for your baby sections for more information.