Care after birth
Maternity patients should bring the following items with them when coming to hospital:
- two - three growsuits or clothes for baby to wear in hospital
- one set of clothes for baby to go home in
- two - three bunny rugs
- one packet of baby wipes
- one bottle of bathing solution/ soap for baby
- one packet of disposable nappies (enough nappies for two - three days)
- formula and bottles for parents choosing to bottle feed their baby. Sterilising equipment is available
- casual clothes for daywear
- underwear, footwear and toiletries for the mother
- four packets of maternity sanitary pads (these are not supplied by the hospital)
Women who are transferred to the maternity ward at any of our facilities following birth will room-in with their baby. Rooming in means your baby will remain with you, in a cot next to your bed, for the duration of your hospital stay.
While you are in hospital, our midwives will support you in learning to care for your baby including bathing and changing a nappy. All our midwives can assist with breastfeeding, with lactation consultants available on request.
All babies will have a discharge check, usually performed by a midwife, before leaving hospital.
Newborn screening – ‘Heel-prick test’
Newborn screening is a simple blood test that helps to identify rare but serious conditions. The test is done within three days after your baby’s birth, before symptoms are obvious. This is so treatment can start before a condition causes problems. The midwife will warm your baby’s heel (usually using your hand or a blanket). The midwife will prick your baby’s heel and collect a few drops of blood on special filter paper. The filter paper is dried, then sent to a laboratory where your baby’s blood is tested for different conditions. If you’re discharged from hospital early, your local child and family health nurse or midwife can collect your baby’s blood sample at your home.
Newborn screening can pick up signs of more than 25 rare conditions. These conditions might not be obvious before babies are born. Newborn screening doesn’t tell you whether your baby definitely has a particular condition. It tells you that your baby is at increased risk for a condition.
You’ll be offered newborn screening in the first 48-72 hours after your baby’s birth. You don’t have to pay for newborn screening. For more information visit Raising Children website.
Hepatitis B vaccination
The National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia recommends that all Australian babies are vaccinated against Hepatitis B. The first vaccination is offered before you leave hospital with your baby. A further three doses are given from two months of age onward, using combination vaccines when other vaccines are due. The four doses are recommended to provide long-term protection against the disease.
You will be given an information sheet about Hepatitis B and if you would like your baby to have this vaccination, you will need to sign a consent form. Please ask your midwife or doctor if you have any questions or for further information, visit the Raising Children website.
Vitamin K is necessary to help blood clot and is essential to prevent serious bleeding. There is a rare disease called Haemorrhagic disease of the newborn which can be prevented by giving babies a dose of Vitamin K at birth. The most common way to give this is by one injection soon after birth. It may also be given orally but three doses are required to give protection as Vitamin K is not well absorbed orally.
World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations are that all babies receive Vitamin K as this is a very simple way to prevent this rare disorder. You will receive information about Vitamin K throughout your pregnancy or, for further information, visit the Queensland Health website.
Universal Newborn Hearing Screening
The Health Hearing program aims to identify babies born with a permanent hearing loss. It is free and available to all babies born in Queensland who are Medicare eligible. A hearing screen does not hurt your baby. A trained health professional will place several small pads gently on your baby’s head and a soft earphone with be lightly placed over each ear. Soft clicking sounds are then played into your baby’s ear. The pads will record your baby’s responses to the sounds. For more information visit Children’s Health Queensland.
Home Visiting Midwifery Service
The Home Visiting Midwifery Service is offered to mothers in the Townsville area to help bridge the gap between hospital and home, allowing new mothers the comfort of their own home with the security of professional support. Providing both you and your baby are well, you can go home from hospital six hours following birth and have a midwife visit you in your home. The number of visits depends on individual circumstances. For more information or to access the program, talk to the midwife who is caring for you on the ward.
Clients of the Townsville University Hospital Birth Centre or Midwifery Group Practice will be seen for six weeks post birth by their midwife.
Following the birth of your baby, regardless of which option of care you chose, your GP and Child Youth and Family Health Service can provide ongoing support.
Ph: (07) 4433 2300
Ph: (07) 4433 2222
Townsville Birth Centre
Ph: (07) 4433 2779
Midwifery Group Practice
Ph: (07) 4433 2353
Ingham Health Service
Ph: (07) 4720 3050
Ayr Health Service
Ph: (07) 4783 0855
Raising Children Network
BeyondBlue - Pregnancy and new parents
Dads Group and Digital Dads
LGBTQI+ Families and Same Sex Parents (Gidget Foundation)