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Shall I Stay Or Shall I Go? Hospital Sleepovers After Giving Birth . . .

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Dyani Ellwood
Dyani Ellwood

Presently, I have four women close to me who are about to give birth in the next month - must be something in the water!

Recently, there was talk circulating from the Minister of Health, Tony Ryall, that women should be allowed a longer stay in hospital after giving birth - bumping it up to four days.

Having left the hospital three hours after giving birth to my son, the issue of 'wanting to stay longer' didn't apply to me, but  hey, each to their own.

One pregnant friend pointed out to me yesterday that she believes choosing to stay longer or not, is very much co-dependant on the midwife support you have - particularly if it's your first child.

Her view was that if you're getting great support from your midwife (one that actually turns up to appointments you make) and promises to do at least a three home visits in the days after giving birth, then the option to stay longer in hospital isn't so major.

"Dee," she said. "Seriously, I'm not the type of person to want to stay longer than two days in a bloody hospital, especially because there is only a sheet separating you from other monthers in the room - lots of noise, minimal privacy.  And the last time I was in there, there must have been at least a dozen polynesian women eating KFC for two days straight in the maternity ward - the smell drove me mental."

Why she is keener to stay longer this time around is because of her, "useless midwife", she tells me.

"While its common knowledge that midwives are under staffed - partcularly in Auckland, I'm worried that I'm not going to get the post-natal care and follow-ups I need after the birth unless I stay at the hospital. I just don't think my midwife has the time for me."

Sad but true - and words straight from the horse's mouth.  Maybe the answer to post-natal care lies not in simply increasing the number of staying-days in the hospital but rather honing in on the care and services our midwives are providing right throughout the pregnancy.

We're not all hospital people, nor are we all 'rush-home-from-hospital-mothers', but I think if the government is going to address one issue of birthing care, they should adress the whole picture i.e the care our mothers are receiving all the way through pregnancy.  And solutions to the problem: How to help the midwifery workload? How much care we should expect from them? Do our midwives need more personal support/helpers to help them stay ontop?

Your thoughts? . . .




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