Thursday 14 December 2017

New mums sent home from Holles Street six hours after giving birth

Master of the National Maternity Hospital, Dr Rhona Mahony, in Holles Street. Photo: David Conachy
Master of the National Maternity Hospital, Dr Rhona Mahony, in Holles Street. Photo: David Conachy
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Some new mothers are home just six hours after giving birth.

They are among those who avail of the National Maternity Hospital's scheme involving midwifery care throughout pregnancy, labour and their baby's first days.

The evaluation of the DOMINO scheme and home birth service offered by the hospital found that nearly half of mothers were discharged between six and 12 hours after the birth.

Many women deemed the early discharge to be a positive experience, saying they felt "confident and excited". However, a few women admitted they were nervous and one commented she was "exhausted and would like to have stayed in".

As part of the scheme, the new mothers are visited by midwives at home for up to 10 days.

The report said some women highlighted the lack of support from community midwives beyond that time, with some suggesting follow-up phone calls between two to four weeks afterwards.

They would also like an additional home visit or appointment at six weeks after birth with the team to provide continued support for new mothers and their familes, said the report.

Some women who were part of the scheme and gave birth in the hospital complained that a different member of staff entered the room without permission, which they found intrusive, distracting and a cause of anxiety.

One women said she felt a loss of dignity. Others spoke of the "lovely designed labour room".

Others commented on the "busy and noisy hospital environment which was a distraction to them during labour".

The majority of women said they would like to see the service, which is limited to certain geographical areas, expanded nationwide.

The evaluation led by Dr Maria Healy, head of nursing, midwifery and health systems in UCD, looked at women who planned a home birth.

Of the 15 women who took part in the study, five ended up going to hospital.

More than half used positional techniques as pain relief and one third used electrical nerve simulation.

Others used massage by their birthing partner or hypnobirthing techniques.

There is a need for water birth and birthing facilities for women, it added. The new maternity strategy is promising an extension of services.

Irish Independent

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