‘Flexible’ six-hour aftercare for new mums

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NEW mums could stay in Berwick Maternity Unit for more than six hours after giving birth, even if the second option for midwifery-led care was taken up by commissioners, according to the medical director at Northumbria NHS Foundation Trust.

While the first option for the future arrangements of maternity services in Berwick would see the maternity unit re-open for births and aftercare exactly as it was before its closure last August, the second option set out in the public consultation document states that women who delivered in the unit would return home six hours after giving birth.

But speaking to a full meeting of Berwick Town Council this week, David Evans said that although in low risk births six hours rest was generally more than adequate for new mums, the time-scale quoted in option two was flexible.

He insisted that the unit would cater for women who required a slightly longer stay after giving birth, and assured councillors that women and babies would not be turfed out of the unit late at night, or in the early hours of the morning, just because their designated six hours were up.

Addressing concerns raised by councillors about the length of inpatient aftercare set out in the second option, Mr Evans said: “Across the NHS we’re trying not to medicalise a normal, physiological process too much - we’re trying to get people up and moving as quickly as possible.

“If we did the maths for low risk births, the average time women spent in bed afterwards would be about two or three hours - six would be more than adequate in most cases.

“But there would be flexibility where required in the six hours set out in the consultation document.”

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