The birth of a baby is a momentous event, rightly capturing the attention of everyone present. Because infants are helpless to care for themselves, it also makes sense that a significant amount of time is spent educating new mothers on how to care for their newborns.
However, a new study highlights a concerning fact: many nurses aren’t educating new mothers on how to care for themselves.
More than 300 nurses nationwide provide disturbing data
The MCN/American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing recently published a survey of 372 postpartum nurses across the country.
The results were surprising. In spite of the fact that these nurses dealt exclusively with labor and delivery issues, many of them did not understand enough about the potentially life-threatening conditions that women should watch for after giving birth. As a result of their own inadequate understanding, these nurses were unable to educate new moms appropriately.
So what makes this so important?
Why is educating new mothers about potential health risks so important? Because the number of new mothers who die from childbirth-related causes is higher in America than it is in any other affluent country.
The CDC estimates that 700-900 new mothers die every year from health complications. An additional 65,000 come close – far too close – to becoming fatalities. And the most disturbing part is that an estimated 60 percent of those deaths could have been prevented.
New moms rely on instruction from postpartum nurses
New mothers have a thousand things to do after they leave the hospital – ranging from changing diapers to attempting to catch a few hours of sleep – so it’s not surprising that nearly 40 percent never return to the hospital for follow-up appointments.
This means that the instruction moms receive from the postpartum nurses may be the only information they ever get about health complications. If that instruction is lacking or inaccurate, new mothers are in much greater danger.
So what can mothers do?
As in many other areas of life, it pays to take the initiative and be your own advocate. During pregnancy, take time to read up on how to care for yourself after childbirth, as well as how to care for your baby.
If you have concerns about your health either before or after giving birth, don’t hesitate to get a medical opinion – or even more than one. And if at any point you believe your medical providers acted negligently and you suffered as a result, you can always request a free consultation with a medical malpractice lawyer.