After an amazing weekend at Pregnancy Babies and Children’s Expo in Melbourne I have had a week to reflect on what was different at this particular Expo. The main thing that women were finally coming to ask was how they could get their own midwife!
The message is finally getting out there that you can have a midwife from early pregnancy, through your labour and birth and to six weeks post birth – midwifery continuity of care. For me the sad thing was how few women I could point in the right direction. Many women had attempted to ‘get into’ public midwifery continuity of care models and were either not able to because of risk factors or were not able to because the public midwifery continuity of care model was full.
Usually my answer to this issue is to tell women about private practice midwives but in Melbourne that is very limited as well. It is still fascinating to me that in Queensland there are a range of options as most hospitals provide the option for women to have a Medicare midwife for their birth, if they want it. In Melbourne only 1 hospital currently offers this option. It was sad to see that women wanted this option, at hospitals close to home, but that it simply was not possible to offer them a solution.
The other thing lots of women were asking for was postnatal care, more than just one or two domiciliary visits offered in the first week or so by a range of different hospital midwives. Again, whilst this option is available with Medicare rebates offered by private practice midwives, it is tricky to offer this across Melbourne.
So what do we do? At My Midwives we are all about serious options for women. We are really recruiting for midwives so that we have lots more midwives to provide this option to women. We are also in the process of creating My Virtual Midwives.This option offers women the ability to ‘see’ their own midwife over Skype, Zoom or Facetime and to talk through every single question and all aspects of pregnancy that you would offer when you have a consultation with a woman.This option will be available on the website from early April and we are very excited to offer the opportunity for women who are distant to us to experience the partnership model with a midwife.
Our 2017 goals are about sustainability – A sustainable earth begins with birth – and this means that we really want every Australian women to know what their choices are and what they can do in pregnancy to make sure they are in best health to birth their baby, and that the baby is also healthy. We intend to be very busy this year making sure every person we are in contact with understands what this means:
- Having the option for pregnancy, birth and post birth care which evidence shows is the safest and has the most health benefits – midwifery continuity of care (Sandall, Soltani, Gates, & Devane, 2016)
- Receiving education about diet, exercise, impacts of stress, hazards, options for care early enough in pregnancy for it to make a difference.
- Being screened in pregnancy around mental well-being and receiving specific support from the same midwife to ensure mental well-being after birth.
- Knowing the sustainable choices for a low-impact birth – no induction unless medically needed, only using drugs and interventions in labour as they are needed, being able to eat, drink, move, rest and feel safe in labour and birth, being supported to stay skin to skin with your babies cord intact for as long as you desire and especially until your baby’s first feed, using back to basics support mechanisms for new mothers and families including staying home, having food prepared for the family, other family and friends only visiting to assist the new mother with household tasks and with other children. My Midwives will be using our time at Pregnancy Babies and Children’s Expo this year to support our sustainable goals for healthy mothers and babies.
Written by Liz Wilkes