Supporting Families, Preventing Tragedies


Lack of Postnatal Care


Tuesday, 5 May 2009

My back-up midwife was the only one available after the early birth of my daughter.

She saw me in my home on day 2 post natal, she asked how breast feeding was going and I expressed concern that it was painful and I was having difficulty. She never asked to see my latch or offer any assistance. I used the Plunket family centre and lactation consultants for help. They tried, but with an early baby and sleepy feeder it was difficult.

About 4 weeks postpartum, I noticed my baby would not feed off the left side, I told my midwife who dismissed it as nothing. I would pump that side and noticed I only got 1/4 of the milk I got on the right. This lack of milk developed in to pain.

I rang my midwife and told her my cracked bleeding nipple was now dripping puss.

She said it was milk not puss and not to worry. I phoned my mum who is a midwife and she said she believed I knew the difference between puss and milk and I might need antibiotics – when was I seeing my midwife?

I saw her the next day, she still did not look at the breast or prescribe antibiotics. That night a lump developed and a massive red area appeared. I had had blood poisoning before so marked the perimeter of the red area with a pen, to see if it was growing.

It was growing bigger and bigger. The pain became so bad I could not even pump or massage or feed or even wear a t shirt.

My midwife discharged me that day after giving me a script for some AB but not looking at the breast. I eventually went to an A and E clinic due to the pain a couple of days later. They sent me for an ultrasound, which resulted in surgery for an abscess.

I felt my midwife didn’t care about the pain I was in, and should have at least looked at the infection. Anyone could see a massive red area over taking my breast, and with antibiotics not doing anything the infection was obviously isolated in an abscess.


Red Flags

        RED FLAGS

  • Lack of monitoring
  • “Normalising” the abnormal
  • Lack of action/delay in getting emergency care
  • Going over due date
  • Failure to progress in labour
  • Meconium-stained liquor (waters)
  • Lengthy handover during emergency
  • Inconsistent reporting and documentation
  • Your concerns being ignored

    Click here to read more about common warning signs


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