The first six weeks after delivery are known as the postnatal period. This is when your body is healing from the trauma of delivery and working towards returning to normal. In Malaysia, these first 42 days are called the period of confinement.
Postnatal care during this period is extremely important. It helps ensure that both you and your baby are in good health, as well as preventing long-term complications and maternal or neonatal death.
Postnatal care at home is fully funded by the government and provided free of charge. It is provided daily from day 1 to 6, then on days 8, 10, 15, and 20. If you’re also suffering from other medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure, postnatal care at home will be performed more frequently in order to identify and deal with any potential complications early.
How nurses perform postnatal care at home
If your baby is delivered at home, your husband or family member has to report the birth to the nearest KKIA or KK. All hospital deliveries and Alternative Birthing Centre births are also notified to the nearest KKIA or KK. These notifications should be done within 24 hours of delivery. This will make it possible for postnatal care at home to be provided by a public health nurse or community nurse.
Once the KKIA or the KK has been notified, a nurse will visit your home according to the standard postnatal care visit schedule. The first visit will be on day 1, followed by daily visits up to day 6. After that, the next visits will be on days 8, 10, 15, and 20.
Mothers who are at high risk will have slightly more frequent postnatal home visit schedules depending on how serious their conditions are.
On the 30th day, every mother must go to the nearest health clinic for a postnatal check-up. On this day, family counselling services will also be offered.
Procedures that nurses perform during home visits
During the home visits, the nurse will examine you and your baby according to standard operating procedures. If there are any problems, they will attempt to treat them or refer you to a health clinic or hospital.
The nurse will perform a number of procedures on you, including carrying out a general observation, checking your vitals, examining your breast milk production, examining your genital or surgery wounds, and checking for symptoms of other health conditions like deep vein thrombosis.
When examining your baby, the nurse will check their weight, temperature, eyes, skin, jaundice, umbilical cord, and their urination and defecation.
You’ll also be given health education on subjects like breastfeeding, newborn care, nutrition, hygiene, wound care, how to take your medication properly, the right exercises to do, family planning, and the importance of follow up visits.
All the nurse’s findings on their examinations of you and your baby will thereafter be discussed with you and your husband or family member. If referral to a health clinic or hospital is necessary, it will also be done during the postnatal care home visit.
It is important to offer your full cooperation to the nurse for things to go smoothly. This will ensure that everyone has a clear picture of you and your baby’s health condition, which is vital for optimal care.