For over three years, I have provided an exciting model of care, being collaborative care. It was launched in the private sector for the first time in Australia in 2010. Many families have now benefited from this collaborative model of private maternity care which enables women to have care with a private midwife (with Medicare funding) and also know the Obstetrician who will be available for the pregnancy, labour and birth if complications arise. The service supports all kinds of births from home birth to water birth, natural birth in hospital, VBAC, twin and breech births and maternal-assisted caesareans.
We’ve received really positive feedback
Women book with me early in their pregnancy. This allows women to build a sense of connection, trust and continuity. A special program of care, called The Essential Birth Program, ensures that women feel well-prepared, informed and confident at the end of pregnancy. They feel empowered to make smart decisions in labour, they are not fearful of birth, and they almost always achieve what they wrote in their birth plan.
Birth care is provided initially at home and then we move to hospital where I provide full midwifery care. The birth is attended by me, with the obstetrician attending if needed. We create an intimate, calm, peaceful experience and facilitate a gentle and safe birth.
After we have welcomed the baby and birthed the placenta, women generally stay in hospital for a few hours before returning home where daily home visits are provided by me for the first week. Of course, if there are any issues, women are welcome to stay in hospital longer, but generally I find that women feel more comfortable in their own homes, in their own beds. I visit at home every day for a week and continue care for 6 weeks.
Private Health Insurance is not needed.
I’m really excited about this model of care because it meets the needs of women so perfectly:
- Women having their first babies, maybe feeling unsure of what to expect
- Women who previously experienced discontinuous and fragmented care from care providers who were unknown to them
- Women who are planning a natural birth but perhaps with a more challenging pregnancy
- Women who want a home birth / birth centre birth but with a known obstetrician available if needed
- Women who really desire a sense of control over their birthing experience
This is a new way of working for both midwives and obstetricians and is a really supportive and nurturing way to practice. There is a huge potential for professional growth and learning. The most positive element, however, is the radiant smiles on the faces of the women who have birthed with us and the babies who have received a safe and gentle start to life.
Melissa Maimann is an endorsed eligible midwife in private practice in Sydney. One of the first eligible midwives in Australia, Melissa now offers a range of care options for women including private midwifery care, antenatal shared care and birth support. Visit Melissa's website to learn more about her services.