1.Remember DOB, time of birth, baby’s name (spelling), hospital and names of any Midwives/Doctors/Anaesthetists that were present
- Important to either take (your journal) or remember the time frames involved in the labour, being at home, when they went in to hospital, when waters released or any vaginal examinations, why they were done and when etc. or any other interventions that occurred during labour
3.Golden rule – don’t touch the baby or pick up the baby! This is challenging but your role is to make sure parents know how important it is for only Mum & Dad to touch, talk, cuddle baby, especially in those first few weeks.
4.Ask how she is feeling? Or how was it coming home on EDP? How have the last few days been (since birth)?
- SAY SOMETHING POSITIVE – e.g. comment on how relaxed/glowing she looks or how beautiful the baby is etc.
- AND – e.g. you should feel very proud of yourself or the way you birthed. This will open up the labour story from her perspective. This is a time when both you and Dad will be prompting or adding to the story, especially around ‘times’ that various things happened, or what caregivers did or didn’t say
- If this doesn’t open it up, then you could start with: e.g. how do you feel about your labour and birth? Was it what you imagined?
- Always ask Dad how it was for him?
- If there has been any medical intervention, then you need to discuss this in detail, clarifying that they understand what, when and why?
- Acknowledge that it was not what she planned/wanted, e.g. I am sorry that this was not what you were hoping for – REMEMBER , don’t ever leave them with – ‘at least you have a live, happy, healthy baby!’ Your role is to help them understand what happened, and acknowledge their sadness/pain around this event. Let them talk, prompt with confirming time frames etc., but this is where your active listening skills are so important. Don’t feel you have to FIX it!
- Once they have both had an opportunity to talk, then it is important to discuss what they might do next time – acknowledging that ‘next time’ is probably not on their agenda right now!, but this is a good time to look at what changes they may make
- Help them to look at how it can make a difference to think about changing their model of care, their place of birth etc and encourage them to do some ‘shopping around’ next time.
- Offer them any other resources/contacts that may be useful for them.
14.This visit, ideally, should be 1 – 1½ hrs. If you feel that she needs some more or ongoing support then know who to refer to in your area. e.g. we need to finish now but it sounds like there is still a lot for you to work through, which is important, so I would suggest….
- Always good idea to let them know what a privilege it was to support them, or how you felt about being at their birth.
16.Make sure they have some practical help available through family/friends and remind them that having hoards of visitors is not a good idea, but to accept offers of cooked meals etc.Always ask for feedback about your service. E.g. was there anything you would have liked from me that I didn’t provide.
17.Ideally a new Mum should be well supported in these first few days/weeks so she can spend most of her time lying close to her baby, getting to know each other and falling in love with her baby.
REMEMBER: to refer on if there has been trauma, disappointment, difficulty in connecting with baby/partner, anxiety etc.