The ‘Woman’ at the Heart of Maternity Care in Australia

The ‘woman’ at the heart of maternity care in Australia

MEDIA RELEASE: December 3, 2019

ACM welcomes the release of the Woman Centred Care: Strategic directions for Australian maternity services endorsed by the COAG Health Council in November 2019. The strategic directions are a significant and essential step forward in supporting and underpinning Australian maternity care reform.

ACM’s Dr Megan Cooper said, “Finally, a national approach to maternity services with the woman at the centre. We’re delighted to see the strategic directions reflect that the needs and preferences of women are the most important considerations and that women’s experiences of care will inform the future of service implementation and provision”.

Importantly these new strategic directions include:

  • The inclusion of midwifery continuity of care as a key approach to reaching gold-standard maternity care in Australia;
  • Service design and implementation underpinned by high-quality evidence;
  • The calling out of professional silos and cultural differences in order to achieve a united, multidisciplinary approach to maternity services that reflects respectful communication and collaboration;
  • A detailed plan for evaluating the translation of the strategic directions to practice; and
  • A planned national approach to perinatal data collection.

There are some considerations ACM feel would increase the success of the strategic directions. These include:

  • The expansion of midwifery continuity of care models to all areas of Australia, including rural and remote communities, so that all women have access to a known midwife if they wish;
  • Greater utilisation of a midwife’s skills, knowledge and expertise so that they are able to work to their full scope of practice in all settings, including private practice;
  • The commitment of funding and resources to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are able to access Birthing on Country programs in their own communities; and
  • Greater focus on the postnatal period including improved support for women who experience psychological sequalae as a result of their pregnancy and birth experience.

ACM looks forward to the implementation of the strategic directions and seeing the full extent of this new woman centred approach to maternity services come to fruition.

Please contact:

Dr Megan Cooper, Midwifery Advisor, Australian College of Midwives 0409 199 087

Additional information
The Australian College of Midwives (ACM) is the peak professional body for midwives in Australia. ACM’s position is that women be attended during pregnancy, birth and postnatally by a midwife who is registered with the NMBA.

Please go to here for ACM’s full response to the release of the Woman Centred Care: Strategic directions for Australian maternity services.