The experiences of postnatal patients regarding postnatal care in Mopani District, Limpopo Province, South Africa

16 Jul 2014

This paper describes the experiences of postnatal patients regarding postnatal care, with the intention of making recommendations to improve the quality of care during the postnatal period. The participants receive care from midwives for the first six hours after delivery and are discharged home. On discharge, the participants receive health advice from midwives on how to take care of themselves and newborn infants at home during the postnatal period. At home they receive care and advice from traditional birth attendants. Different pieces of advice confuse the participants because they interfere with decision-making skills. A qualitative, exploratory, descriptive and contextual research method was used in this study. A semi-structured interview guide was also used to conduct focus group interviews. Data were collected until saturation was reached during the second focus group interview. Participants revealed the following challenges: lack of openness and transparency between the midwives and the traditional birth attendants; exclusion of participants’ relatives when giving health advice on discharge; conflicting postnatal care advice; lack of postnatal care supervision and follow up; postnatal patients under direct care of traditional birth attendants only; and feeling of insecurity by the participants. The participants suggested that there should be incorporation of indigenous postnatal care practices into the midwifery healthcare system in order to enhance teamwork between the midwives and the traditional birth attendants. Follow up should be conducted by the midwives to ensure safety, support, supervision and continuity of care to the participants during the postnatal period.