Have you thought about how you’ll feel after your baby is born?
In today’s blog, Kerry talks about the valuable midwife services available to you in the post-natal phase.
I love thinking back to my own birth experience. If anyone shows interest in my recollections I am more than happy to share. I feel we should allow more time to talk through our birth stories as I hear from my elders it is something us women never ever forget.
One area of my pregnancy and birth journey I valued highly and recommend to my patients is the availability of post-natal care with an independent midwife. Often women focus all their attention on preparing their body and mind for birth, which I highly champion, getting the nursery ready, and waiting for the baby’s birthday. Less time however, is spent on what support we may need once we come home from the hospital.
I opted for a home birth and although I was 40 and a first timer (some may say risky) I was a trained doula, very prepared and felt it was the safest place for me. With some twists and turns my daughter arrived on my bed and we spent the first night all tucked in together. My wonderful midwife Louise visited the following day and then a few days after that and then every week for 6 weeks. Having a midwife who I knew and trusted visit me throughout the post-natal phase was fundamental to how I transgressed into motherhood.
The initial days following the birth are very raw: healing, having flashbacks of what just happened, how you managed, and holding your baby for the first time. In hospital or at home your hormones are shifting, your uterus is shrinking and your boobs – well they are big and sore when the milk comes in. But looking at your little creation, touching its soft fingers and watching it sleep makes it well worth all the changes.
Even if the most natural mothering instincts kick in (which, by the way, doesn’t happen for everyone early on), those first few days and weeks can be overwhelming and exhausting. Feeding can be unpredictable, sleep elusive and hormones dancing. Having a caring visit from a midwife who can answer any question, watch how you are feeding and help where necessary, check you and the baby over and teach you some handy tips can be very supportive for you and your family.
On returning home with your baby you typically get one visit from a hospital midwife and one from a maternal health nurse. I feel we are very lucky in Australia that we are provided for but we are still lacking in proper care and support for women post birth. It is an area that my midwife friends are very passionate about and are offering their services. Yes, there are mothers groups and numbers to call but being at home all day and night with a newborn can be isolating; not all of us have a village of women or family around us in this crucial time.
You can call on an independent midwife for post-natal home support as well as your allocated services. They are medicare registered so the cost is subsidised and you can have them visit once or every week for 6 weeks should you need it. It will be the same midwife visiting therefore giving you continuity of care, someone who gets to know you, your baby and your needs in this time. It doesn’t matter if it is your first baby or fourth, if you had a C – section or vaginal birth, delivered in a private or public hospital.
I cannot scream loud enough for more women to know and access this service. I remember day three post birth, my baby was crying; she was fed, changed, well rested, and neither my singing voice nor my partner’s jiggling was helping. Just before my tears fell, Louise my midwife had let herself in and was walking up the stairs saying: “oh good your milk has come through then.” Ahh!, What a relief. My baby’s unsettled nature was simply due to the fact that she had to get used to digesting full cream milk! As a first time mum, this is not something I would have known without the support and expertise of Louise. She gave me the reassurance and confidence to trust myself to be a mum.
If you are interested in discussing post-natal or pre-natal care please click the links below:
Kerry is available for consultation at Mornington Chinese Medicine on Tuesday and Friday.
To book your appointment please call us on ph: 5973 6886