About Midwifery

What is a Midwife?

A midwife is a person who, having been regularly admitted to a midwifery educational programme ... has successfully completed the prescribed course of studies in midwifery and has acquired the requisite qualifications to be registered and/or legally licensed to practice midwifery.

The midwife is recognised as a responsible and accountable professional who works in partnership with women to give the necessary support, care and advice during pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period, to conduct births on the midwife's own responsibility and to provide care for the newborn and the infant. This care includes preventive measures, the promotion of normal birth, the detection of complications in mother and child, the accessing of medical or other appropriate assistance and the carrying out of emergency measures ...

What is a Private Midwife?

Private midwives are midwives who work in private practice in a self-employed capacity, running their own businesses and seeing private clients.

Why work privately?

In my private practice, I work with a limited number of families each month so that I can be sure of my availability for each woman when she needs me. I am able to tailor the care I provide to each woman, ensuring that it best meets her needs. I can offer flexible appointment times, including on weekends, so that both the woman and her partner are able to attend all appointments. In short, private practice is the best way that I have found to provide the best care and service to my private clients.

What is an Eligible Midwife?

Eligible Midwives meet a registration standard that enables them to provide Medicare-funded care and order diagnostic tests and ultrasounds relating to pregnancy, birth and the newborn period. Medicare benefits enable women to claim some of the cost of private midwifery care, much the same way we do when we see a GP. Melissa Maimann is a medicare-eligible midwife and her services attract a Medicare rebate. An Eligible Midwife meets certain advanced requirements:

At least 3 years of full time experience as a midwife; Competence to provide pregnancy, birth and postnatal care; Successful completion of a professional practice review program; 40 hours per year of continuing professional development (20 hours in addition to standard requirements)

How is a midwife different to a doula?

A midwife is the primary care provider for pregnant, birthing and postnatal women.

Both midwives and doulas provide emotional and physical support to women in labour and birth, and work with labouring women to suggest position changes and provide emotional support.

Midwives are registered health professionals with a university degree and they are recognised by legislation. The doula industry is not regulated and formal qualifications are not required. There are no formal standards of practice or registration for doulas.

Midwives are educated in skills such as newborn resuscitation and care of the pregnant, birthing and postnatal woman - including knowledge of how to keep pregnancy and birth normal. Midwives are also educated to know when medical care is necessary, and they can execute emergency measures while waiting for medical care to arrive.

Midwives can offer qualified advice and clinical care, whereas doulas cannot advise or comment on clinical practices and cannot provide clinical care such as listening to the baby's heart rate, checking blood pressure etc.

While women may engage a doula's services for additional support, a midwife or obstetrician will always be needed to provide care.

How is a midwife different to an obstetrician?

Obstetricians are doctors who complete extensive specialist training in pregnancy and birth and all areas of gynaecology. Obstetricians are qualified to provide pregnancy and birth care to healthy women, as well as women with risk-associated pregnancies and births. They are able to perform assisted births such as vacuum births, as well as caesareans.

All women are cared for by a midwife in labour and midwives provide the bulk of labour care. If the woman's labour is straight forward, an obstetrician would not routinely be involved in her care. However, if the need arose, the midwife would always enlist the support of an obstetrician to provide guidance about the best path to take.

Midwives are primary care providers for low-risk, healthy women throughout pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period and most women can expect to have a healthy pregnancy. However, if the pregnancy or birth take a different path, obstetricians and midwives work together to provide safe care to the woman and her baby.

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