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Postnatal care to be Standardised for Mothers and Babies

Author: Neil Fearn  Bullet  Dated: 30/07/2013

NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) has produced a report which makes recommendations to improve and standardise the postnatal care new mothers and babies receive. The aim of these recommendations is to concentrate on a mother-centred approach and to bring harmony to both mother and child during the postnatal period for 6-8 weeks.

Although, this is usually a time free from complications, some mothers do experience problems, which can lead to harmful outcomes.

The majority of mothers experience good quality post natal care, but research conducted by the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) shows that this treatment can be patchy in some areas. Around 1 in 8 mothers surveyed were highly critical of the care they received for a variety of reasons, including insensitivity, inconsistencies in care and a lack of emotional support.

In an NCT report, slightly over half of all first time mothers felt they had received all the physical care they needed in the first 24 hours of giving birth. But this decreased after 2 days and further decreased again after day 8.

One in five first time mothers felt they did not have the physical support they needed throughout the first month after birth.

What are the recommendations being made for better postnatal care?

The recommendations made by NICE include:

  • Safer infant sleeping to be discussed at each postnatal contact, so parents can understand and reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), often known as 'cot death'
  • Assessing the emotional wellbeing of the mother - women who suffer from ‘baby blues’ for more than 14 days after the birth should be assessed for mental health problems
  • Increased breastfeeding support; so mothers are better informed about the benefits of breastfeeding, and how it contributes to both their health and that of their baby
  • Better understanding of bottle feeding and how to prepare formula milk properly so that serious infections can be prevented

Professor Gillian Leng, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Health and Social Care at NICE said: "I am sure this new quality standard issued by NICE will be welcomed by both parents and healthcare professional alike."

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