By Kate Richards
The midwives I encountered during both my pregnancies were almost without exception kind, professional and helpful. If a little abrupt. But this was due to an obvious shortage of staff both in hospital and in the port-natal team. It was quite impressive how they managed to cope when overwhelmed by the sheer number of us!
The midwives who visited me afterwards mentioned they were concerned that their "next day" home visits might be scrapped due to lack of cash, and mums would have to go to them instead. Well quite honestly if you factor in stitches, siblings, and exhaustion, I can't see many of us making it out of the house the very next day after giving birth. Yet this is the crucial time for needing help with breastfeeding, among other issues.
A survey was carried out recently to see what other mums thought of their midwife service. The promotions company Bounty, which also runs a parenting club, carried out the online survey of 2,301 new mums in May this year. Nearly half (43%) said they would have liked more visits from their midwife after arriving home, and nearly a quarter (23%) felt under pressure to leave the house in the early days to visit a midwife.
Most (76%) were happy with the overall length and quality of their midwife's visit, but a third (33%) felt their midwife did not have the time to provide enough breastfeeding support and over half (59%) were visited after the birth of their baby by a midwife they did not know.
Following the survey, Bounty has begun to include in their "Bounty packs" details of a free helpline that parents can call to speak to a midwife from the charity Tommy's.
Bounty has a mixed reputation for their occasional "hard sell" techniques, but I'm very glad to hear about this decision, which could have a wide benefit.