Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC)'s Women’s Wellness and Research Center (WWRC) has launched a pilot postnatal midwifery homecare programme for new mothers and their babies.
The Postnatal Midwifery Homecare Programme, which is the first of its kind in Qatar, is run by a team of qualified midwives and will initially be available to new mothers who had a high-risk pregnancy or caesarian delivery and require extra care, HMC has said in a statement.
A team of qualified midwives will provide new mothers and their newborns with check-ups, education and support during the postnatal period. With as many as one in three women delivering by caesarian section at WWRC, staff at the hospital care for a large number of women with high-risk pregnancies.
Haila Johar, executive director of nursing at WWRC, said: “By visiting women in their homes shortly after childbirth, HMC’s community midwife team will be able to help identify and prevent many common maternal and newborn health issues and will play an important role in enabling women to make informed decisions about when and where they access care.”
The programme also aims to prevent and decrease unnecessary visits or admissions to the WWRC Emergency Department by women who had a high-risk pregnancy or gave birth by caesarian section. Up to a quarter of women, who delivered by caesarian section, will visit the Emergency Department after their babies are born for a related non-urgent medical issue.
“During the home visit, one of our midwives will assess the physical and emotional well-being of the mother and her newborn, educating her about what to expect in the coming days and weeks, and providing her and her family with support managing the care of their newborn,” said Fatima Yusuf, director of nursing at WWRC.
Currently, the Postnatal Midwifery Homecare Programme is only available to women who deliver at WWRC, live in Doha and have had a high-risk pregnancy or caesarian delivery and require wound care. The service will be managed by a team of six community midwives, with each team conducting 12 to 14 home visits per month.
Women will be referred to the postnatal midwifery home care team by their discharging physician and their first home visit will be scheduled within 48 to 72 hours of their delivery. Subsequent follow-up visits will be scheduled as needed.
“The six weeks directly after a woman gives birth can be both a happy and difficult time as she adjusts to physical, emotional and social changes,” said Johar. “By providing an in-home service with a qualified midwife, our goal is to develop a trusting and supportive relationship with our mothers and ensure they receive consistent advice about maternal health issues and well-being. The ultimate goal is to keep mother and baby healthy after the birth.”
According to Johar, in the near future, the pilot programme at WWRC will be expanded to all HMC maternity facilities. She added that there are plans to further expand the service to all birthing facilities in Qatar, providing care to new mothers who experience a high-risk pregnancy or caesarian delivery within 28 days of giving birth.