Care from a known midwife is often referred to as midwifery continuity of care. Women who have the same midwife caring for them throughout pregnancy, labour, birth and post birth have the opportunity to build a trusting relationship which increases their confidence.
Knowing your midwife - being cared for by, and able to build trust and rapport with, the same midwife, doctor, or group of midwives, during pregnancy (or even pre-conception), through labour and birth, and into the early weeks of mothering - has benefits for mothers, babies and society. It is known as the ‘Gold standard’ of maternity care and the Australian College of Midwives continues to advocate for all women to have access to this model of care.
What are the benefits?
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; and
- cost the health system less.
A baby whose mother received care from a known midwife is more likely to:
- be born at term; and
- be born healthy.
* 'Spontaneous in onset, low-risk at the start of labour and remaining so throughout labour and delivery. The infant is born spontaneously [without help] in the vertex position [head down] between 37 and 42 completed weeks of pregnancy.' (World Health Organisation Definition of 'Normal Birth' - Care in Normal Birth 1997)
Learn more about Continuity of Care: a summary of current research on the topic can be found here.
Learn more about Continuity of Care: Continuity of Care Handbook
In Australia the majority of maternity care is provided in a hospital (public or private) in what is known as a fragmented system. This means that women will see a variety of midwives and doctors throughout the childbearing continuum.
There exist opportunities for women to have midwifery student accompany them throughout their pregnancy journey, thus providing them with woman-centred care and a continuity of care exprience.
Find out more about the midwifery student continuity of care experience and how you can find a student to accompany you on your own journey!
Continuity of care with a known midwife is good for women, their babies, families and even the taxpayer.