What is a midwife and how could they help us?
The term midwife means ‘with woman’. Midwives act as partners to women throughout pregnancy, labour, birth and the early postnatal period, providing individualised education, advice and support.
Midwives advocate measures throughout pregnancy and labour which promote natural birth, and are experienced in caring for mother and baby under normal birth conditions. They are also trained to recognise and assist with scenarios that are out of the norm. This includes detection of complications for the mother or baby, requesting medical opinions and carrying out emergency measures if necessary.
Midwives aim for only necessary intervention in the birth process. Midwives can work in a complementary relationship with obstetricians, who are specialists in complicated pregnancy and birth, and in surgery. Midwives can refer women to obstetricians or other appropriate medical practitioners when the client requires care that falls out of the midwives’ scope of practice.
Their role extends to caring for the newborn and assisting with breastfeeding. Research shows that continuity of midwifery care from early pregnancy to around 6 weeks after birth improves short and long term mental and physical health outcomes for mothers and babies.
You can read more about this in the below paper and article:
Sometimes this continuity is achieved by working in small group practices; this is how the MAMA midwives work.
Further information about midwifery is available from Midwives Australia.
How does a midwife work?
A midwife can work as your primary carer or alongside other caregivers you have chosen to support you. The different combinations of caregivers are called ‘models of care.’ The World Health Organisation states that midwives are the most appropriate primary carer for women with a normal pregnancy and birth (WHO, 1996).
Furthermore, it is well documented in the literature that midwives improve the short and long term mental and physical health outcomes of the mother and baby both in normal pregnancy and birth, and in collaboration with medical assistance in situations where complications arise.
MAMA Midwives can offer care for you in accordance with the following models:
During pregnancy/antenatal care
- Primary care by a midwife
- Shared care by a midwife and a public hospital
- Shared care by a midwife and a private obstetrician
- Additional care by a midwife (whether you have chosen the public or private system)
Throughout labour and birth
- Hospital support by a midwife in the public system
- Hospital support by a midwife in the private system
- Homebirth with a midwife as primary carer
In early parenting/postnatal care
- Postnatal care by a midwife in your home
- Postnatal care by a midwife in our centre
- 6 week check up for you and your baby
- Lactation consultation
For more information about choosing a caregiver, visit Childbirth Connection.