Mothers are still sent home early after birth without the municipality having a maternity care plan in place. Health personnel fear it can lead to an increase in infant mortality.
“While hospitals continue to cut hospitalization days, we see that the municipalities are lacking preparedness to address them and provide proper follow-up for mother and child. I fear we can see an increase in infant mortality because of this,” says political leader in the Norwegian Midwife Association, Kirsten Jørgensen, to Dagsavisen.
According to the newspaper, figures from the National Institute of Public Health show that the average length of hospital stay after giving birth in Norwegian hospitals decreased from 3.2 days in 2007, to 2.7 in 2016.
The Midwife Association estimates that there is a lack of 600-700 midwives on a national basis, if the municipalities are to have a proper home-based maternity care.
In August last year, the Regional Perinatal Committee, Helse Sør-Øst, sent a concern message to the Medical Director of the Health Agency.
“Childbirth guidelines state that shorter stays in hospitals has to be compensated by closer follow-up in municipalities and neighborhoods, something we see happening to varying degrees,” says the Chairman of the Committee, Doctor Branka M. Yli.
The leader of the Norwegian Children’s Association, Ketil Størdal, emphasizes that for most people, it is perfectly fine with early hospital discharge, but time is also needed to observe both the mother and child and note danger signals.
“We are worried that there might be be something wrong with the infants, but it is difficult to detect during the first few hours after birth,” says Stordal.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today