New Mums Are Being Pushed Out Of Hospital Hours After Giving Birth, Says AMA
The Australian Medical Association says more needs to be done to support new mums
By marie claire
January 05 2017
According to the Australian Medical Association (AMA) it is becoming increasingly more common for hospitals to discharge new mums and their babies as soon as four hours after giving birth.
The move, which has been described as a cost-saving measure, is seeing vulnerable mothers being discharged before their breast milk has come in and before they have had the chance to properly recover from the ordeal of labour.
"It's very simply a cost-saving exercise," Dr Gannon, obstetrician and President of the AMA, tells ABC.
"Not only have they had a long pregnancy and the ordeal of labour, but we are then sending them home to look after their baby.
"Surely the fourth richest country in the world can do better than send women home four hours after their babies are born."
Dr Gannon says we need to support new mothers in properly caring for their children, breastfeeding and help prevent post-natal depression.
"If we are really serious about post-natal depression prevention, and we should be, if we are serious about supporting women in breastfeeding, and we should be, if we are serious about giving our children the best possible start in life, then this trend surely has to stop,” Dr Gannon continued.
"We need a bit more compassion and care in looking after women who have given birth to babies."
A spokesperson for Western Australia's Health Department has denied Dr Gannon’s claims, stating the hospitals do not discharge anyone unless it is appropriate to do so.
"If there are clinical circumstances that mean the timeframes are not appropriate, then mother and baby will remain in hospital until they are ready for discharge," the spokesman tells ABC.
"Following discharge, women receive continued care from the Visiting Midwifery Service up to five days following birth.
"Current, contemporary, evidence-based practice indicates that it is beneficial for patients to be cared for in their home environment when clinically appropriate."