Postnatal care - The neglected "Cinderella" of maternity services
Becoming a parent is a transformative experience which needs to be followed by a period of care, rest and support for mothers and babies to thrive. We've always known this! All cultures had traditions in place to support this transition and hold mothers through this beautiful and vulnerable journey.
Over time, our modern lifestyle has chipped away at those traditions and unfortunately maternity services have followed suit. Just a few decades ago, new mothers would see their community midwife twice a day for three days, then daily for one to three weeks, depending on their needs. Our needs as mothers haven't changed, in fact, we could argue we need the support even more now as we're more isolated from our families and communities than ever before. But over the years midwives have been given more and more tasks and responsibilities. Whilst the birth rates keep raising, midwives' numbers keep going down, overloading the ones who remain in the service. The national shortage of midwives we're experiencing post-Covid has taken even more from postnatal families, with midwives being called to work in hospitals and less present in the community. And of course...money. Hospitals aren't being paid for quality postnatal care anymore, but commissioned for only one postnatal visit.
What remains is a service where most mums will see a midwife once or twice postnatally and discharged from the service by day ten. Often there's no continuity either, so it will be midwives you've never met and who don't know you or your family. In these conditions, the advice and support available are general, standardised, more about ticking boxes than actually listening and caring for you as an individual with your particular set of wishes and needs. In my NHS practice, I've always given mothers a choice on day ten, whether they wanted to continue postnatal visits or whether they felt ready to let go. Most mums asked for additional check ins. Rarely, they accepted being discharged so early on and I've often felt they were being mindful of my workload and the expectations of the service, rather than voicing what they truly needed.
Women, babies and their families deserve so much more than this! Our society deserves so much more than this!
You deserve consistent, unhurried postnatal support by a midwife you know and trust. A midwife who knows you and your family, your challenges and goals, easy to reach and who sticks around until YOU feel ready to let go.
This is my commitment to the families I am privileged to work with. Receiving postnatal care from me means we develop a package that is 100% flexible and adjusts to your needs and wishes as you navigate the first weeks and months with your new family and the beautiful new you that's blossoming. No judgements, no expectations or time-related pressures. Just compassionate support from a midwife who gets to know you and is available for you as you learn, grow and find your feet.