Promoting Normal Birth Conference

9:00am Saturday, 27 November 2021
4:30pm Saturday, 27 November 2021
Session will run on Zoom
ACM Office
Victoria (Virtual), Victoria 3000

Promoting Normal Birth Conference

Learn about the many ways you can support the normal physiological process of birth to achieve the best outcomes for the women in your care. As a face to face event, this conference normally sells out. Now as a virtual event it’s available to all and not to be missed! 

Event Details

Date: Saturday, November 27th, 2021

Time: 9:00am - 4:30pm

Ticket prices:
Non-Member - $70.00
Full Member - $49.00
Student Member - $35.00
Graduate Member - $38.50

Register at the bottom of the page.


Program- Click here


Karen McClay - Supporting the Mind-Body-Birth Connection

Karen will be discussing the importance of understanding the interdependent relationship of the mind-body-birth connection, how this not only impacts on a woman or birthing person’s experience of birth but the way their body responds to birth and how we as caregivers can support this.

Karen is the Director of Calmbirth®. Australia’s leading Childbirth Education Program. She is also practicing Registered Midwife (RM), a Registered Nurse (RN) and is the daughter of the founder of Calmbirth®, Peter Jackson. Karen has a passion improving the emotional experiences of birth and for sharing her knowledge and experience with pregnant couples and caregivers. Her hope is that one day our society and cultures view and experience birth will be far more positive than it is today.

Zoe Bradfield - Midwives Experiences of Being 'With Woman' Why Professional Philosophy Matters

Dr Zoe Bradfield is a midwifery academic and research fellow with a joint appointment between Curtin University and King Edward Memorial Hospital in Western Australia. She has more than 20 years' clinical and leadership experience working in rural and metropolitan health settings. Zoe is the current Vice President of the Australian College of Midwives. Zoe is also a Co-Director of the Transforming Maternity Care Collaborative, bringing together key national and international stakeholders with the goal of improving care for women and their families.

Merivale Hemsworth - The Politics of the Pool: barriers and facilitators to water immersion during labour and birth

Using deep water immersion in labour and birth has proven benefits and is well established in the Australian maternity system. Yet in practise, few women access the pool. This presentation will look at international qualitative data to explore what helps, and what hinders access to birthing pools during childbirth. The voices of midwives, doctors, students and those who are planning to - or have - birthed in water, will be heard.

Merivale Hemsworth (she/her) is a midwife working in the Midwifery Group Practise at Barwon Health in Geelong, facilitating the learning lab for midwifery students at Victoria University, and is a PhD candidate at Western Sydney University. She has worked in public, private and independent midwifery across three states. She is continually inspired by the commitment and tenacity of midwives and believes that together we can achieve so much for birthing families.

Heidi Williams & Kate Levett - Acuneedling for Midwives

‘Acuneedling’ is simply acupuncture by a midwife, specifically for pregnancy, labour, birth and early postpartum period. Acupuncture during pregnancy and the perinatal period aims to increase normal birth and enhance a woman’s birth experience by decreasing intervention and adverse birth outcomes. Acuneedling for Midwives is purposely designed to the specialised scope of practice of midwives to enhance and complement the care provided to women during pregnancy, labour and postpartum.

Heidi is a Privately Practicing Endorsed Midwife (PPEM) with postgraduate research studies on acupuncture during pregnancy and the perinatal period.  Heidi is passionate about midwives providing acupuncture/acuneedling treatments to women in their care and working with hospitals in Australia to develop guidelines/policies for midwives.  Heidi is a PhD student looking at malposition in labour and birth.

Kate is a practitioner and researcher, with over 20 years’ experience as an acupuncturist, researcher, birth educator and teacher. She is a Senior Research Fellow at the School of Medicine Sydney, at the University of Notre Dame Australia. Kate is a specialist in pregnancy and birth, and completed her PhD investigating the use of complementary therapies for pain relief in labour. 
Kate is a Mentor for the MAMPs program (Maternity Acupuncture Mentoring and Peer support) and has completed the ‘Labour and Delivery Clinical Intensive’ training for maternity acupuncturists at NYU Langone Hospital in Brooklyn. She is a consultant for the BUB App, Hypnobirthing Australia™, CalmBirth™, Lamaze International and the Obstetrical Acupuncture Association in Canada. She has produced an online video course on acupressure and massage techniques for labour for parents and practitioners to access.

Marina Weckend - Physiological Plateaus during Normal Labour and Birth

In contemporary maternity care, it is commonly expected that women demonstrate what is considered continuous progress of labour until birth. According to theidihis paradigm, if a woman’s labour slows down or stalls, clinicians are quick to diagnose failure to progress and may offer augmentation. However, there is considerable evidence that labour may slow, stall, pause or even reverse on a number of occasions throughout the continuum of healthy labour and birth without constituting pathology. Findings from existing research indicate that physiological plateaus may be a healthy mechanism of self-regulation of the mother-infant-dyad. Further, such plateaus may be fairly commonly observed, particularly in non-clinical birth settings. This presentation aims to provide an overview of existing evidence about physiological plateaus, discuss varying concepts and terminology and stimulate debate about the implications of physiological plateaus on maternity care practice.

Marina Weckend, MSc, is a midwife who is currently conducting her PhD at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia. She has ten years’ experience working as a clinical and independent midwife, in midwifery education and in health research. Marina’s current research project is exploring labour patterns where progress appears to slow or stall but is still interpreted as physiological by the attending midwife. Previous to embarking on this doctoral research, Marina has worked as a head of midwifery school and as a research assistant in Germany and has completed her MSc in Midwifery and Women’s Health in the UK. She has also established a midwifery service in several emergency refugee accommodations in Germany and is interested in supporting refugee and asylum seeker health, enhancing midwifery education and promoting healthy childbirth.

Margie McCormick - Womens' perception of safety during labour and birth

Research suggests ‘not feeling safe’ can contribute to the development of a range of poor outcomes for women and their babies. For this reason, providing a contemporary understanding of what ‘feeling safe’ actually means for women, during labour and birth, is fundamental to improving organisational strategies aimed to achieving positive health outcomes for women and their babies.

Margie is an experienced midwife with extensive experience in midwifery education and leadership. Margie currently works as a Midwifery Educator, developing and facilitating multi-professional learning. Margie is completing a PhD exploring women’s perceptions of safety during labour and birth. The research aims to provide an understanding of what ‘safe’ means to women and for organisations who provide care during this important time. This knowledge is then used to put forward a series recommendations. These recommendation will be informed by the women’s voices to assist organisations to implement and monitor strategies, with the view to continually improve the safety for women.

Hazel Keedle - The Midwives Role in Promoting and Supporting VBAC

In this presentation Hazel will explore the midwife's role in supporting women planning a VBAC using the four factors of control, confidence, relationship and active labour. Midwives will learn tools and strategies that can be used to increase their confidence and effectiveness when for supporting and championing VBAC.

Hazel is a Lecturer of Midwifery and has completed her PhD in 2021 in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Western Sydney University. Hazel has more than two decades of experience as a clinician in nursing and midwifery, educator and researcher. Her research focusses on midwifery practice/education and women’s experience of maternity care. Hazel’s passion for vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC) followed her own experience of having a VBAC with her daughter in 2008 and since then has published research on women's experience of having a VBAC at home and on her PhD work exploring women’s experiences of planning a VBAC in Australia. Hazel is passionate about improving support for women during pregnancy, birth and the early transition to mothering.

Bashi Kumar Hazard - The Midwives Role is Promoting Informed Consent

Bashi Hazard is an Australian lawyer and Principal of B W Law, a legal practice for women and children, and the Chair of Human Rights in Childbirth, an international NGO dedicated to defending the human rights of women and newborns. She is currently completing a PhD examining anti-competitive behaviours in Australia’s maternity health sector. Bashi is mother to three amazing young children, teaches ethics, and grows orchids.


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email the week of the event containing information about joining the Conference.

If you are unable to attend the event live, the sessions will be recorded and available to watch after the event.  You must register to receive access to recordings. 

To register you will need to have a user profile with ACM.  If you do not yet have one, you can create your profile via this link:

If you have any questions or queries please contact Cassie via email on


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