Supporting new Parents - The Importance of Postpartum Care
Becoming a parent, a mother, a father is arguably one of the most challenging and overwhelming experiences many of us will ever go through.
Not only is it a personal journey, but one that involves becoming responsible for one more human being in addition to one’s own changing reality. The tasks that come along with parenthood and especially motherhood can be difficult and seemingly endless. When a baby is born, everything changes. Mom, dad and baby leave the hospital or birthing clinic and now have to figure out the rest. How can they be best supported?
Is it ideal that new parents are at the mercy of finding information on Google or Youtube?
What is postpartum care?
Generally speaking, the six weeks immediately after a woman has given birth are considered the postpartum period. During this time the mother and child are most vulnerable and require additional attention and help. Adequate support will help to identify potential complications or challenges before they can escalate to dangerous proportions. A well supported postpartum period will ensure a happier and healthier mom and therefore a happier and healthier baby. From helping her through physical changes and how to manage things like breastfeeding, to guiding her through mental and emotional challenges such as chronic fatigue, anxiety and even depression. Providing a new mother with optimal postpartum care will make this unique journey much more pleasant & manageable. The mother would be well informed as a whole and could assure the baby a healthy environment to start its journey in life.
It is hard enough to adjust to this major life event WITH the full support of family, friends, doctors, midwives and nurses. Now, imagine that you or your patient may NOT have the support needed to help manage the beginning stages of this new chapter.
Based on recent discussions with one of the largest birthing centers in Germany, an alarming 1/3 of all new mothers leave the hospital without any access to a post-care midwife, due to the serious shortage of midwives in Germany.
In the days and weeks spent immediately after birth, it is crucial to have adequate support. According to ACOG (American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology) “ to optimize the health of women and infants, postpartum care should become an ongoing process, rather than a single encounter, with services and support tailored to each woman’s individual needs.”
The current challenge presented is that a significant number of women leave the birthing center after their 48 hour stay without any additional at home care. Of course, they will return to the hospital for the required check-ups, but this is minimum care at best. It does not compare to what a midwife will provide at home. German insurance will actually cover daily visits for 10-14 days and visits every 2-3 days for the time thereafter. As mentioned above, however, due to the serious shortage of midwives in Germany, not all women get to take advantage of this much needed assistance.
So how is this gap closed (and what is Birth Buddy)?
If we take a look at the many steps involved prenatally and postpartum, we can identify components of care that could easily be managed through digital guidance, when real-life support may not be available. For example: typically a midwife may have come to a patient’s home to explain about breastfeeding or wound healing. In the many cases where a midwife, however, isn’t available, new mothers as well as their partners could be digitally supported through an App, which would allow them 24/7 access to all necessary information from a professional midwife of their birth clinic - such as teaching videos, tasks, automated reminders about what to do and what not to do, links to different support groups and even a possibility to directly connect to the birth clinic or provider through a two-way secure communication channel within the App. A woman could also send pictures of the baby or of anything else she may have a question about, to keep her connected in these crucial first days and weeks.
On the other hand, midwives, nurses and hospitals can feel assured that they are releasing their patients with a better at-home support system, thus reducing the risk of complications or other unwanted events. During the hospital stay, the midwife can focus on the present moment without having to worry about cramming loads of information into a short couple of visits, knowing that the Birth Buddy App will accompany mom and baby home and continue to guide and monitor them. Having this peace of mind as a provider will undeniably lighten the load of stress and worry and perhaps even increase happiness in the workplace. This would benefit any hospital overall, to have optimally cared for patients as well as better supported staff. Employing digital guidance in postpartum care would deliver real-life benefits to all stakeholders in the patient journey. All the way from mom and baby, to providers and hospital administrators.
Curious to learn more?
Reach out to us & lets talk how we can make this help happen.