Younger socially disadvantaged mothers are missing out on
valuable midwife home visits in their first week at home with a new
baby, a Murdoch Childrens study has found.
While four out of five women taking part in the study, which was
conducted in Victoria and South Australia, said that they were
visited at home by a midwife soon after leaving hospital, younger
women (under 24 years), women with a low income, and those with a
health care concession card were more likely to miss out.
Researchers found that there were state based differences, with
women having a baby in South Australia more likely to get a home
visit from a midwife in the week after discharge than women giving
birth in Victoria.
Lead researcher, Dr Jane Yelland said, "most women who had a
visit from a midwife were very positive about having a midwife
visit them soon after discharge. But women who are more likely to
need and derive benefit from domiciliary care were less likely to
receive it. There appears to be an inverse care law operating in
Study author Dr Mary Anne Biro said that postnatal domiciliary
services have expanded rapidly over the past decade as length of
stay in hospital after having a baby has shortened.
"This is the first time we have had evidence about which women are
getting a home visit soon after discharge, and who is missing out.
Going home with a new baby can be a very stressful time for women,
especially as most women are still recovering from the birth
itself. It is important that women have good access to primary
health care both for themselves and for their baby, and that care
is tailored to their needs. " she said.
"it is important that vulnerable women don't miss out on basic
primary health care in the critical first few weeks after having a
The study found that women who had a shorter length of stay in
hospital were not more likely to have a visit from a midwife soon
after discharge than women staying longer.
The study was published in Australian Health