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Are Home Visits from Midwives Necessary?

Posted on 07 August 2012 by Annerley

Some of the other women in my pre-natal class seem to be very busy organising midwife home visits for after their babies are born. I don’t really see why this is necessary. What are the benefits of having a midwife visit? Do visits really need to be booked in advance or does it make more sense to see how the land lies after my baby has arrived? Thanks.

Hulda responds:

The time after you have given birth is one of great change.  You do not know how you will adapt in your new role.  Different services are available in different countries, however normally there is a team of care providers who work together to support you over this time with a percentage of this care being home-based. In Hong Kong, once you are discharged from the hospital the following services are available to you:

  • Maternal child health nurses in the government clinics
  • Private midwives
  • Your paediatrican
  • Well baby clinics.

It is good to have your babies weighed every week in the first month after birth.  For most of these options you have to go somewhere, which can be quite difficult to get your head around, so having someone come to your house who will spend time just focusing on you and your family is a good option.

The reasons families book home visits with midwives in advance is to ensure someone is coming to check-in on them, do a postnatal check, weigh the baby, check the baby and help with any other issues that may arise.  We know that continuity of care in the provision of appropriate support through pregnancy and birth is important so it is good if you have met the midwife prior to the birth.  We also know there is more than one way to care for your baby or else everyone would be doing the same thing.  So these care providers should be able to listen to your needs and provide you with information, not instruction.  The definition of a midwife is “with woman,” to assist the woman by providing her with knowledge to make an informed choice.  And this is definitely the way the midwives I know strive to work.

It is not necessary to book visits in advance, however be aware that most of the midwives are fairly busy and if you have not planned any home visits you may not be able to get someone at short notice. Although they will definitely do their best!  If you decide booking home visits with a midwife is not for you, please do not wait until things are really difficult, for example before you decide that breastfeeding is becoming so painful that you hate doing it and are on the verge of giving up.  When this is the case, it is uncommon for problems to be solved in a one hour visit.  If things are becoming challenging please call early, maybe a solution can be found with just a small modification by phone or email.  Whereas if things are really hard, you may end up struggling more than is necessary.

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