Midwives in the early care of psychosocially burdened families
Independently practising midwives support many families at home after the birth of children. Thus, they could play an important role in the early assessment and care of psychosocially at-risk families. This is why researchers at the ZHAW have investigated to what extent midwives can identify and document known psychosocial risk factors affecting healthy child development, and how the presence of such risk factors impacts postpartum care.
Based on a secondary analysis of comprehensive data collected by independent midwives in Switzerland, the researchers have been able to show that midwives recognise and document some risk factors in their daily work. Other risk factors, however, are not recorded in their routine documentation. In the analysed data set from 2014, 18.6 per cent of families exhibit one risk factor and 6.3 per cent exhibit several. The most at-risk are mothers from developing and emerging countries, very young or older mothers as well as large families. The presence of risk factors influences the work of midwives. Burdened families generally receive more home visits, suffer more often from breast-feeding problems and are more frequently referred to other specialists.
ZHAW Health Professions School, Beatrice Friedli, Head of the Institute of midwifery,
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