Experience with and amount of postpartum maternity care: Comparing women who rated the care they received from the maternity care assistant as ‘good’ or ‘less than good care’
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OBJECTIVE: The postpartum period is an important time in the lives of new mothers, their children and their families. The aim of postpartum care is 'to detect health problems of mother and/or baby at an early stage, to encourage breastfeeding and to give families a good start' (Wiegers, 2006). The Netherlands maternity care system aims to enable every new family to receive postpartum care in their home by a maternity care assistant (MCA). In order to better understand this approach, in this study we focus on women who experienced the postpartum care by the MCA as 'less than good' care. Our research questions are; among postpartum women in the Netherlands, what is the uptake of MCA care and what factors are significantly associated with women's rating of care provided by the MCA. Design and setting This study uses data from the 'DELIVER study', a dynamic cohort study, which was set up to investigate the organization, accessibility and quality of primary midwifery care in the Netherlands. Participants In the DELIVER population 95.6% of the women indicated that they had received postpartum maternity care by an MCA in their home. We included the responses of 3170 women. MEASUREMENTS AND FINDINGS: To assess the factors that were significantly associated with reporting 'less than good (postpartum) care' by the MCA, a full cases backward logistic regression model was built using the multilevel approach in Generalized Linear Mixed Models. FINDINGS: The mean rating of the postpartum care by the MCA was 8.8 (on a scale from 1-10), and 444 women (14%) rated the postpartum maternity care by the MCA as 'less than good care'. In the full cases multivariable analysis model, odds of reporting 'less than good care' by the MCA were significantly higher for women who were younger (women 25-35 years had an OR 1.32, CI 0.96-1.81 and women 35 years), multiparous (OR 1.27, CI 1.01-1.60) and had a higher level of education (women with a middle level had an OR 1.84,CI 1.22-2.79, and women with a high level of education had an OR 2.11, CI 1.40-3.18 compared to women with a low level of education). Odds of reporting 'less than good care' were higher for women who, received the minimum amount of hours (OR 1.86, CI 1.45-2.38), in their opinion received not enough or too many hours maternity care assistance (OR 1.47, CI 1.01-2.15 and OR 5.15, CI 3.25-8.15, respectively), received care from two or more different MCAs (2 MCAs OR 1.61 CI 1.24-2.08, ≥3 MCAs OR 3.01, CI 1.98-4.56 compared to 1 MCA) and rated the care of the midwife as less than good care (OR 4.03, CI 3.10-5.25) . The odds of reporting 'less than good care' were lower for women whose reason for choosing maternity care assistance was to get information and advice (OR 0.52, CI 0.41-0.65). KEY CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that (the postpartum) MCA care is well utilised, and highly rated by most women. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: The approach to care in the Netherlands addresses the needs as outlined by NICE and WHO. Although no data exists around the impact of use on maternal infant outcomes, this approach might be useful in other jurisdictions. MCA care might be improved if the hours of MCA care were tailored, and care by multiple MCAs minimised.
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