Maternity visits | including support & privacy
Maternity visits: balancing support and privacy
Editors: Pr. Bruno Carbonne, Head of the CHPG Maternity and Obstetrics Department; Valérie Accosato, Senior Midwife in the CHPG Maternity and Obstetrics Department and Delphine Derne, Midwife at the Prenatal Coordination and Family Support Center.
The arrival of a newborn is a crucial stage in family life, which sees a complete reshaping of its structure and relationships.
Family expectations and support
Friends and family consider visits to the maternity ward an opportunity to share the joy of a new baby's arrival and to show their support to the new parents by celebrating this new stage in their lives. It's normal for friends and family to want to offer comfort and be a source of advice and shared experiences.
The challenges of maternity visits for new parents
However, too many visits can also be stressful and exhausting for new parents, especially for mums who have just been through a very trying time, both physically and emotionally. Peace and rest are essential for mum and baby to recover from this ordeal, and constant visits can be very tiring. What's more, some women may feel uncomfortable or vulnerable around others during this intimate period of recuperation and bonding with their baby.
The impact of poor advice and overstimulation
Furthermore, the advice given by friends and family might not be in line with current practices and sometimes unsettles parents who are trying to find their bearings. Also, for a newborn baby, being held in the arms of a stranger and having a lot of stimulation can cause stress and disrupt sleep and the initiation of breastfeeding.
The needs of new parents and newborn babies
Therefore, it’s important to respect the needs and privacy of young parents, and to ensure that visits don't become intrusive or stressful. During the COVID-19 pandemic, maternity visits were drastically reduced, in both Monaco and France, allowing only visits from the co-parent. Retrospective studies have shown a positive impact on the newborn (less weight loss, reduced exposure to pathogens) but also on the mother (reduced breastfeeding failures, an easier recovery).
The positive impact of limiting visits to maternity wards
For these reasons, and despite the easing of protective measures in response to the pandemic, the CHPG Maternity Unit has changed its practices, and now only allows visits from co-parents and siblings; to ensure respect for the family unit for everyone's sake.
Advice for new parents after their stay in the maternity ward
The stay in the maternity ward is short; parents can welcome their loved ones at home once they're discharged. However, it's important to allow time for rest and to respect the new mother and baby's routine. Parents are also advised to limit the number of visitors and the duration of their stay and ask them to respect hygiene rules.