Denmark is well-known for its generous social welfare system and its focus on creating equal career opportunities for men and women. So, no surprise that the Nordic nation consistently ranks high on the list of the happiest countries in the world.
Another critical area where they stand out is their commendable approach to postpartum care for women. Globally, it is seen that women are shortly discharged after childbirth. This often leaves them with little indication of where they can obtain further support. Due to a lack of knowledge, they also tend to succumb to suboptimal healthcare practices, raising mortality.
It is essential to realise that proper support and environment are needed after childbirth to ensure the child’s well-being and appropriate physical and mental health for the mother. This makes a proper framework for postpartum essential. Let us look at what makes Denmark an iconic postpartum-positive nation and what healthcare systems in other countries can learn from it.
What makes Denmark an iconic postpartum-positive country?
In Denmark, the government deeply prioritises helping mothers get back on their feet after pregnancy. This is quite visible in their well-rounded initiatives that are designed to support new parents after childbirth and ensure the well-being of the mother and child.
- Provision for ensuring routine check-ins
As soon as a new mother is discharged from the hospital, a nurse makes home visits throughout the first year. The first visit is within the week after the delivery, with subsequent dates scheduled between the parents and the health visitor. After that, there is at least one visit every quarter. This continued monitoring ensures that both the mother and the baby are well. It is an excellent step to monitor the baby’s health and development and offer advice regularly on aspects like suitable meals to feed.
There is guaranteed paid time off for expecting parents. Not only do pregnant women get four weeks of paid time off during their pregnancy to prepare for birth, but they are also entitled to another 14 weeks after the birth. In addition, their partners also get two full weeks of paternity leaves to support their families.
Over and above that, both parents are additionally guaranteed another 32 paid weeks off that they can share between them. Again, the parents can avail of this together or individually.
This leave period is an excellent way for new parents to smoothly get into parenting without creating extra burden on only one parent.
- Guaranteed public day care
Furthermore, the Danish government also ensures that all children are guaranteed a spot in public day-care, are well equipped with trained caretakers, and have the provision for proper meals. The government foots a chunk of this bill, enabling Danish mothers to join back work freely at the right time.
Such measures make the Danish nation among the countries with the lowest maternal mortality rates. In addition, their babies are one of the healthiest, having the lowest rates of colic in the world. These steps are indeed an inspiration to support, maintain and promote the health of women and their children and foster an environment of support from the community.
Providing postpartum and post-natal care: towards a new concept – WHO Technical Consultation on Postpartum and Post-natal Care – NCBI Bookshelf (nih.gov)
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