What does Continuity of Midwifery Care mean?
I have decided to write this Blog from my perspective as a midwife who not only trained in the hospital environment but also worked in a public maternity unit for over 25 years.
I am Allison Stephens and have worked in the public system I have met many women and their families and cared for them at some point during their pregnancy, during their births and their postnatal period while in hospital. This would be all different women and sometimes I would be lucky enough to care for a woman I had met before. Over the years I have certainly connected with many families and have cared for them on repeat occasions.
I also started to become more involved with student education and was feeling very envious of their requirement to “follow” women through their pregnancy journey, birth and postnatal period. This was something I had never had the opportunity to do or had sought out. This then planted the seed to be able to practice in this way and I began to read about this care. I was soon to discover that outcomes from this model of care not only were positive for the women but also for the midwives.
I was involved in a project to have a midwifery group practice established at the hospital I worked at, but unfortunately this was never funded. During this time however I was studying and increasing my qualifications to become an endorsed midwife.
I was fortunate enough to be able to join the Coast Life Midwifery team in 2016 and experience the absolute wonderful model of continuity of care. I have come to trust the process of women centred care and the relationship that develops with the journey of connecting with women and their families through their pregnancy. Continuity of care enables mutual respect and trust. During the pregnancy the birth expectations are discussed and education around birth provided so that during the labour the woman and her partner are supported in their decision making, resulting in satisfaction regardless of the way in which the woman births. I remain in complete awe of the relationship that has developed.
The care and support during the postnatal period of 6 weeks is what really cements this relationship. I have never felt such emotions with the final visit at 6 weeks. To see a family through this 6 week period hearing words initially such as “we are not sure what we are doing”, “what are we going to do without you visiting every week” to the confidence of caring for their beautiful thriving baby at the end is just amazing!
The research does show there are benefits for women who choose continuity of care.
Benefits for Women
A woman who receives care from a known midwife is more likely to:
• have a normal birth
• have a more positive experience of labour and birth
• be satisfied with her maternity care
• successfully breastfeed her baby
• cost the health system less
Benefits for Babies
A baby whose mother received care from a known midwife is more likely to:
• be born at term
• be born healthy
Do you think you would like to have continuity of care during your pregnancy journey then contact Coast Life Midwifery and organise an obligation free appointment to meet and discuss with a midwife.
Phone 54435555 or visit our website www.coastlifemidwifery.com.au for further information.