The focus of midwifery care is often thought to be about birth, however, after the birth, the focus rapidly shifts to the brand new baby who has joined the family. I wanted to share some insights into postnatal midwifery care as an important (and perhaps under-valued) aspect of the care of a woman and her family.
Once a baby is born, new parents can be thrown into an enormous sense of responsibility, combined with a very steep learning curve. A midwife helps the mother and family make this transition to parenthood. A midwife is there to help with breastfeeding, teach practical baby care and also to provide the necessary checks of mum and baby to ensure that the normal recovery process is underway.
I provide my clients with extensive postnatal care because I know it can be a challenging time for a new family. I visit the new baby and mother at home every day for the first week. After that time, families can choose to see me in my rooms or I visit them in their home. There are two visits in the second week, and then week 3, 4 and finally discharge at week 6.
We do all sorts of things: I attend the baby's newborn screening test (Blood spot test), I check the mother and baby to ensure that they are both recovering, we talk about breastfeeding and ensure that the baby is feeding well, we monitor the baby's output to be sure that the baby is getting sufficient milk for his/her needs, I attend the Vitamin K drops for families who choose to give their babies Vitamin K drops, and we do lots of education about postnatal care, postnatal depression, what to expect with a new baby in the first few weeks, expressing milk, safe sleeping, adjusting to parenthood and so on.
Over time, I have increased the care that I provide to my clients and the feedback from my clients has been that the current visiting schedule has enabled them to feel confident, safe and secure with their new baby. Much of this stems from the extensive preparation that my clients do in their pregnancy, and that most have a drug-free, natural birth. This seems to help with the baby's adaptation to newborn life.
Melissa Maimann is an endorsed eligible midwife in private practice in Sydney. One of the first eligible midwives in Australia, Melissa now offers a range of care options for women including private midwifery care, antenatal shared care and birth support. Visit Melissa's website to learn more about her services.