A person may be waiting.
Sitting in a row of oddly coloured chairs of cleanable material, alongside another parturient. Staring at the air between their eyes and the page of the magazine in their hand (you can guess how old I am for writing “magazine” instead of “mobile phone”). Inhaling, exhaling, deeply. Listening attentively (eagerly or apprehensively or a mixture of both) for: “First name, last name, come, the doctor will see you now.”
Handing over the request form to whoever is behind the counter of the High-risk pregnancy clinic.
Experiencing concern. Focusing on their baby’s wellbeing.
Pregnancy challenges can be a stressor for the pregnant person. That gathered, we as skilled health care professionals working in such a setting, commence communication by listening, respectfully: An important element to help build confidence by addressing any concerns the parent may have, notably in the context of a stress-provoking situation.
Providing counselling at the right time in a sensitive manner offers the opportunity to share information and build skills on infant feeding linked with the specificities of their condition. Knowing what to expect can reduce stress. A discussion on how the progression of breastfeeding may be impacted by certain interventions at birth, for example, may help the person to feel better prepared for the initiation phase. Referring the person to a community-based support group or antenatal counselling prior to the birth  may contribute to reducing stress as well as improving breastfeeding practices. As may arranging a follow-up counselling session once the baby is born; seeing a familiar face may be reassuring. Sharing information and offering anticipatory guidance could help with the nurturing of the baby and encourage responsive caregiving.
May sensitivity define your journey.
Manon Campagna, IBCLC
 Managing complications in pregnancy and childbirth: a guide for midwives and doctors – 2nd ed. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2017. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
 Guideline: counselling of women to improve breastfeeding practices. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2018. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
 Improving early childhood development: WHO guideline. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2020. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
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Last Updated: September 2018