The guard holds open the door of the birth room, a chart in his hand, announcing cheerfully, “Baby check!” as a smiling new mother walks in with her baby in her arms.
Post-partum follow-up for both moms and babies is an important part of the midwifery care offered at the birth center. If everything is normal after the birth, patients usually go home within 6-8 hours. The mothers return for check-ups several times during the first week, and again at three and six weeks after the birth.
During these visits, we make sure everything is going well with the mother’s healing, breastfeeding and the baby’s weight gain, monitor for jaundice and signs of infection, and answer questions. We take a blood sample from the baby’s heel to test for disorders like PKU, congenital hypothyroidism, galactosemia, and G6PD defficiency (this last is fairly common here.) And of course, at each visit the midwife prays with the mother and baby.
Twice a month, we hold BCG clinic, providing tuberculosis vaccination for the newborns who were born in the previous two weeks. We usually have at least 40 and sometimes more than 60 babies come in for their BCG vaccine, so these are always the busiest days of the month for baby checks!