WOMEN who have given birth at Basildon University Hospital, regardless of how long ago, have direct access to a midwife for a postnatal ‘debriefing’ via the Trust’s ‘Birth Afterthoughts’ service.
New, or indeed, not-so-new mums and their partners can contact the service to talk through their birth experience, ask general questions, or try to piece together those hazy hours spent in labour that seem impossible to recall.
Any woman who has given birth at Basildon University Hospital, no matter how long ago, is able to self-refer to this service by calling 01268 524 900 ext 3458 or emailing email@example.com. Health visitors, GPs and other professionals can also recommend the service to women who have previously given birth at the hospital.
Liz Carpenter, Ward Manager on Cedar Suite is the lead midwife for the service and is piloting a project to give all new mums on her ward a ‘business card’ with her contact details. The hope is that mums might store the card with all the goodies they receive in hospital, but may later pop it in their purse, stick it on their fridge, or give it to a friend who may have some questions about their birthing experience at a later stage.
Liz said: “Most mums simply want to know what happened and when – as it can be difficult to recall details afterwards.
However sometimes mums have more serious questions, perhaps about procedures, or how much blood they lost for example. Each birth is completely unique, but we hope that mums feel reassured that we are here to help them better understand their experiences and hopefully help them to feel more confident and relaxed about their next birth!”
Jennie Ponting, Midwifery Matron at Basildon University Hospital said: “Giving birth is one of the most significant events in a person’s life. It can be tiring and stressful but is always incredible. Often, it’s not until babies are weaning, or even out of nappies – perhaps when the mother becomes pregnant again – that postnatal women suddenly realise they have questions about their birthing experience.
“Postnatal debriefing, is an incredibly powerful and successful way to understand your birthing experience and perhaps better understand any niggling questions that may be tucked away at the back of your mind. Of course, mums don’t have to wait until they get home to ask us any questions, they can talk to us at any time!”
Basildon University Hospital is one of the busiest midwifery unit’s in the East of England with 4300 births per year. The midwifery team pride themselves on having a flexible, partnership approach with their patients.
Postnatal mums in the unit will notice that they have access to their notes after giving birth, as the notes are stored at the end of their bed (traditionally, postnatal notes have been whisked away from new mums the moment they give birth).