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Wednesday, 26 July 2006 09:54
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
New mothers need to be helped to care for their babies
New mothers are to be given personalised "baby plans" under NHS guidelines announced yesterday. The guidance, issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), and the first to set out national standards of postnatal care for new mothers, applies to women in England and Wales.

The NICE guidelines cover care for the first eight weeks of a baby's life.

They say health professionals should ensure they only give women the help and advice that is relevant to them - so if they have not had a Caesarean or a birth involving stitches, they do not need any information on those topics.

Professor Rona McCandlish, who chaired the guideline development group said: "In the past postnatal care has often been considered the 'Cinderella service' of maternity care.

"This guideline recognises that women, babies and families deserve highest quality care after birth.

"It establishes clear, much needed national standards for healthcare professionals to help them offer women the support they need in the hours, days and weeks following birth”.

Dr David Elliman, a consultant in community child health, said: "New babies require huge amounts of care and attention, and this can be daunting, particularly for first time parents.

"Helping mothers to know what signs and symptoms could indicate something serious so they know what to worry about and what is normal gives them reassurance and confidence.

"Giving babies the best start in life through good quality post natal care means they are less likely to have health problems during childhood and into adulthood”.

Dame Karlene Davis, General Secretary of the RCM, said: "Good maternity services are the vital building block for long-term health improvement”.

Rosie Dodds, of the National Childbirth Trust, said: "The development of personalised care plans will help to ensure healthcare professionals provide individually tailored care for each woman.

"And the emphasis on communication between mothers and healthcare professionals is certainly a step in the right direction to ensuring all women are aware of the support available”.

But she added: "These guidelines don't recommend a minimum number of postnatal care visits.

"We know access to supportive care throughout the first few weeks is essential to emotional and physical well-being of most new parents.

"It would help to work towards an understanding of the amount of care all women should be offered, with additional care available for those who need it”.


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