Midwifery Models of care

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In midwifery office with small baby

The following information is an excerpt from the latest edition of Pregnancy For Dummies.

Hospital midwifery programs primarily aim to provide you with continuity of care with a known midwife or small team of midwives. The midwives coordinate care with other members of the health-care team, including obstetricians, paediatricians, dieticians, social workers and others.

Experiencing a continuity of care from a midwife (or small group of midwives) through pregnancy and beyond can provide you with the opportunity to develop trust in your midwife, to be an active participant in the decision making around pregnancy care, and have consistency of advice and information. Most importantly, continuity of midwifery care helps you feel more in control during the labour and birth.

Choosing to give birth within a midwifery program can provide the following benefits:

  • Increased chance of a vaginal birth
  • Less chance of interventions such as epidurals, episiotomies, instrumental births
  • Greater chance of successfully starting breastfeeding

If a midwifery program sounds like a good option for you, check if your preferred hospital offers any of the following programs or schemes:

  • Caseload Midwifery Programs: Within these programs, one or two midwives care for you through pregnancy, attend your birth and may follow you through until discharge (at around four to six weeks following the birth of your baby).
  • Know Your Own Midwife Scheme: This scheme entails having the same midwife provide the majority of your prenatal care; some hospitals that are part of the scheme enable your midwife to also care for you during labour.
  • Team Midwifery Programs: Within these programs, you can choose to see a team of midwives for your care through pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period. A small group of midwives — usually no more than six or seven — provide your prenatal care, one of whom attends to you during labour. Several of these programs provide continuity of care into the postnatal period — some even offer postnatal home visits.
Pregnancy For Dummies

This article is an excerpt from Pregnancy For Dummies 3rd Edition (Australian and New Zealand Edition)

Your complete guide to having a healthy, happy pregnancy. This updated and expanded third edition of Pregnancy For Dummies offers mothers-to-be practical advice and expert guidance on every stage of their pregnancy — and beyond!

Understand what's happening with your baby and your body, and be guided through what to expect from labour, birth and becoming a new parent.

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