Continuity of midwifery care works in remote Australia

18362913712_fbeb7191e6I’m always happy to be able to share research showing that midwifery care works in another part of the world, and the latest study demonstrates that it works in remote Australia. Which is great because, as Lack et al (2016) describe in their study, “Aboriginal women and babies experience higher maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality rates than their non-Aboriginal counterparts.”

This paper evaluates the outcomes of a Midwifery Group Practice which was set up in a remote city of the Northern Territory, Australia in 2009. The results, as with many studies of this kind of care, demonstrate the value of midwife-led care given in a continuity model:

“In total, 763 women (40% of whom were Aboriginal) gave birth to 769 babies over a four year period. There were no maternal deaths and the rate of perinatal mortality was lower than that across the Northern Territory. Lower rates of preterm birth (6%) and low birth weight babies (5%) were found in comparison to population based data.”

Brilliant news 😀

Lack BM, Smith RM, Arundell MJ and Homer CSE (2016). Narrowing the Gap? Describing women’s outcomes in Midwifery Group Practice in remote Australia. Women and Birth, in press. doi:10.1016/j.wombi.2016.03.003

 

The Research

Background: In Australia, Aboriginal women and babies experience higher maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality rates than their non-Aboriginal counterparts. Whilst midwifery led continuity of care has been shown to be safe for women and their babies, with benefits including reducing the preterm birth rate, access to this model of care in remote areas remains limited. A Midwifery Group Practice was established in 2009 in a remote city of the Northern Territory, Australia, with the aim of improving outcomes and access to midwifery continuity of care.

Aim: The aim of this paper is to describe the maternal and newborn outcomes for women accessing midwifery continuity of care in a remote context in Australia.

Methods: A retrospective descriptive design using data from two existing electronic databases was undertaken and analysed descriptively.

Findings: In total, 763 women (40% of whom were Aboriginal) gave birth to 769 babies over a four year period. There were no maternal deaths and the rate of perinatal mortality was lower than that across the Northern Territory. Lower rates of preterm birth (6%) and low birth weight babies (5%) were found in comparison to population based data.

Conclusion: Continuity of Midwifery Care can be effectively provided to remote dwelling Aboriginal women and appears to improve outcomes for women and their infants.

photo credit: T92A0005 via photopin (license)

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