Written by Dawn Finney, CPM
When it comes to hospital birth in the USA, we have many wonderful technological advancements that can do a great deal of good when it comes to keeping mothers and babies healthy and safe. After a birth, hospital postpartum care makes sure mothers and babies make normal transitions in this important time, that the needed newborn tests are done, and by the time a swaddled bundle is placed in the mother’s arms as she makes her way to the car to go home, all is well.
However, this is just the beginning of life with a new baby, and the beginning of a mother’s continued healing and adjustment after the momentous act of giving birth. There may be other children at home and a partner that needs to get back to work all too soon.
The new baby gets follow up appointments, of course: well-baby check ups and weigh-ins if necessary. However, mothers are not seen again until the six-week postpartum visit unless there is a problem.
What if that problem was preventable with some post partum visits for the mother? What if there was someone coming to visit the mother and new baby to help with things like breastfeeding, or checking on uterine and perineal healing? What if someone came to her home to ask how she is feeling and offer remedies for postpartum blues? And what if there was someone to assist the new mother to get extra help, community support, or a referral to another care provider so a small problem can get solved before it turns into a bigger one?
Our institutionally-based maternal and newborn health care system does many good things, but postpartum care is not one of them. It leaves mothers to fend for themselves in what is, in American culture, an often isolating experience.
There is a solution, though. Certified Professional Midwives know that birth is really the beginning of everything. Good postpartum care is essential to the healthy continuum of a woman’s childbearing cycle.
What does this look like? Midwives come to the home to comprehensively assess the mother and baby’s well-being at regular visits. Midwives help with breastfeeding as much as needed. Midwives get late-night phone calls from clients asking for help and then go to the home to help. What physician or nurse is going to do that?
You can’t get better or more responsive postpartum care than with a midwife. In a medical system that undervalues this important area of health care, Columbia Area Midwives fills this gap. We are happy to let everyone know that we offer a package of postpartum care services (home visits and much more!) that can be contracted by those who are having hospital births. We also offer postpartum doula services. Please check the Our Services web page for more information. Mothers and babies deserve midwives!