Hôpital Montfort`s Family Birthing Center (FBC) assists in 3,250 births yearly. In Canada, 97% of women are hospitalized for childbirth and postnatal care, for an average length-of-stay of 2.3 days .
Postnatal care primarily aims to promote maternal and infant health through the initiation and support of breastfeeding, teaching newborn care and preparing mothers to transition from hospital to home. However, rates of exclusive breastfeeding and parental preparedness following discharge remain low. Mothers have expressed feeling unprepared, overwhelmed and uncertain about newborn conditions, leading to non-urgent emergency department visits .
Our interdisciplinary team has designed, tested and implemented the Montfort Postnatal Care at Home Program (MPCHP). This innovative program aims to improve access to postnatal care for maternal-newborn dyads in the Ottawa region. It provides low-risk maternal-newborn dyads who are cared for by obstetricians/pediatricians or family physicians with the option of early discharge and receiving care from a MPCHP midwife at home during the first postnatal week. The dyads are then discharged from the MPCHP to their usual physician.
The program includes four components:
• prenatal information session preparing expectant parents for breastfeeding and transition from hospital to home;
• early discharge from hospital to home 6 to 24 hours following a vaginal birth and within 24 hours following a cesarean section;
• two or three home visits plus telephone support from the MPCHP midwife;
• on-call 24/7 access to the MPCHP midwives during the first week postpartum. Home visit/phone call schedule is tailored to meet each mothers’ individual needs.