Postnatal Period in hospital & at home

After surgery you will be monitored closely in a high dependancy ward. In most cases this is only for one night. Following this you are transferred back to post natal ward.

Postnatal Period while in hospital

After surgery, women are usually monitored closely in a high dependency ward. In many cases this is only for one night.

A urinary catheter will be inserted into the bladder during the surgery. This will usually stay in place until you are able to walk safely to the bathroom on your own. This may be on the 1st or 2nd day after the surgery.
To prevent blood clots forming, - you should wear TED stockings while in hospital. A small blood thinning injection is also given every day. Some mothers may require this medication at home for a few weeks following delivery. Once it is safe to do so, women will be encouraged to mobilise as this also reduces the risk of getting a blood clot.
A member of the physiotherapy team -will help and guide women on how to do this safely.
A number of drips & monitors will still be attached to you following the surgery. Once you are fully mobile and able to eat and drink normally, these can be removed.
Normally women will be in hospital for approximately 4-5 days. If there are any concerns or complications they may need to stay in hospital for an extra period of time.
Blood tests are usually taken to check the iron levels on the first day after surgery.
Most women should be able to eat and drink soon after surgery.
Pain relief will be given in the form of tablets or a drip. Immediately after the surgery, women will often have an epidural catheter in their back, which the anaesthetic team can use to give pain relief for a hours or days after the surgery as needed.
Some babies will need to be cared for in the neonatal unit. How long they stay in the baby unit usually depends on how early they are born. Some women will be discharged from the hospital before their baby is ready to go home with them.

Going home from hospital

On average it takes up to 6 weeks to recover from surgery. For some women this may be longer, and will depend on many things such as if any complications happened.

-On discharge from hospital, women will be given a prescription for pain relief and any other medication that such as the blood thinning injections, antibiotics or iron supplementation. It is important to take these medications as directed.

The physiotherapists may give women some exercises to perform at home . It is recommend to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exercise for the first 6 weeks. In Ireland, it is recommended that women with placenta accreta spectrum are seen by a physiotherapist during the pregnancy, and again after the birth. Therefore, women with placenta accreta should have been reviewed by a physiotherapist during the pregnancy, and the physio team may arrange a visit in the weeks after the birth after you are discharged from hospital.

Women are advised not to drive for 6 weeks after the birth. You should check with their insurance company for guidance.

A public health nurse may visit women at home after the surgery. If staples were used to close the skin, the public health nurse will usually remove these 7-10 days after the surgery.

Placenta accreta service postnatal clinic: women who were cared for by the placenta accreta specialist team will often be reviewed in a specialist follow up clinic at around 6 weeks after the birth. Depending on each woman’s care needs, longer term follow up will be arranged as needed through this clinic.

If women have any concerns or are feeling unwell after the surgery it is important to contact the hospital.

Mental health changes

Some women may experience mental health changes following the birth of their baby. These may include:

  • Baby blues – this is common and usually happens on day 3-5 after the birth
  • Post-natal depression affects 10-15% of women within the first year of giving birth
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder – a disorder which may present with intrusive and persistent re-experiences of traumatic events. This is less common.

There are many support services available for women who are experiencing physical or mental health problems after the birth. These include through the placenta accreta postnatal clinic, the perinatal mental health team, women’s GP or seeking support from an advocacy group such as Placenta Accreta Ireland.