Eleven years ago I became a mother for the first time... standard hospital care... different staff coming in and out... changes of shift... and a 'healthy baby', 'healthy mother' at the other end of it. Sure, we got through it, but wow, how I wish I knew then what I know now. Seven years ago I started a deep process of inquiry into that experience and my second birth. What was missing in the first that I had in the second? Continuity of care, where that care was founded on the understanding that over 80% of women can expect to give birth normally, given the right circumstances.
In this podcast we hear from two women who have birthed recently in these circumstances, after previously experiencing conventional hospital care. We also hear from the late Dr Marsden Wagner, Professor Alec Welsh and Professor Sally Tracy about how obstetricians can collaborate with midwives to provide the safest care for the most women. The model discussed here is "midwifery group practices" or "MGPs" that can run out of hospitals. Women who use MGP care are followed through by a primary midwife through her pregnancy, birth and up to 6 weeks postnatally. And the comparisons with conventional hospital care are stark.
Thank you Professor Lesley Page and the symposium for permission to use this image.
--- Check those stats again: With midwifery-led continuity of care, women are less likely to lose their baby and experience interventions, and the risks that they carry.
The National Maternity Services Plan of 2011 calls for “All Australian women will have access to high quality, evidence based, culturally competent maternity care in a range of settings close to where they live.” The plan also recognises the importance of continuity of care for women.
Unfortunately after six years of this Plan, only 8% of women can access this form of care. The vast majority of women have conventional hospital care where they see different midwives throughout their pregnancy, a different set again at the birth, and a couple of days' care in the hospital, with yet another set of midwives attending her.
Midwives in the system do their best, but it's up to us women to make change.
Find out more in our latest podcast on this important issue.
Please share it with whomever you think would benefit from this information.
Special thanks go to mums Candice and Tiffany for being willing to share their stories in this podcast.
We'd love to hear any feedback too!
warm wishes -Sally
NE PLUS ULTRA
The authors of this segment are varied, each post will indicate the author of that particular post. For more information about our team, visit here