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Postnatal care: a neonatal perspective (NICE guideline CG 37)
  1. Nicola Holme,
  2. Leah Boullier,
  3. Catherine Harrison
  1. Peter Congdon Neonatal Unit, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nicola Holme, Peter Congdon Neonatal Unit, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds LS2 9NS, UK; nicolaholme{at}

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Current guideline

This 2015 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline outlines essential routine postnatal care of women and their babies up to 6–8 weeks post partum and offers advice on when, and how, to provide additional support.

Previous guideline

A previous version of this guideline was published in 2006. In 2013, new information on the association between co-sleeping and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) was published, and the NICE guideline has been updated to include this advice (see box 1 and full evidence review at The rest of the guideline remains predominantly unchanged from 2006.

Box 1


Postnatal care, NICE clinical guideline 37, issued February 2015.

Neonatal Jaundice, NICE clinical guideline 98, issued May 2010.

Antibiotics for early-onset neonatal infection: Antibiotics for the prevention and treatment of early-onset neonatal infection, clinical guidance 149, issued August 2012.

Division of ankyloglossia (tongue-tie) for breastfeeding, NICE Interventional Procedure Guidance 149, issued December 2005.

SANDS: Still birth and neonatal death charity

Key issues

Breast feeding should be encouraged and supported. This will be mainly midwifery led, but medical staff should be able to recognise when feeding is not adequate (figure 1). This has particular relevance if a specific breastfeeding problem is identified such as ankyloglossia (tongue-tie) or if separation of mother and baby is unavoidable due to medical need.

Figure 1

Breastfeeding guidance.

The cause of SIDS is unknown but is thought to be multifactorial. NICE has documented a positive association between co-sleeping and SIDS, although evidence supporting co-sleeping as a cause of SIDS is limited. Parents should be made aware of this, …

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  • Contributors NH and LB wrote the manuscript while CH reviewed and made changes to the manuscript.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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