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Another call for increased access to midwifery continuity of care models

2 July 2019

The Australian Preterm Birth Prevention Alliance (APTBPA) released a statement on Friday regarding the considerable body of evidence that shows a reduction in preterm birth for women who experience continuity of care from a known midwife.

The Australian College of Midwives (ACM) has long advocated the benefits of midwifery continuity of care and we commend APTBPA on their statement highlighting one of the many significant benefits.

We know that women who receive continuity of care from a known midwife are more likely to have a normal birth, breastfeed their babies and cost the health system less. Their babies are more likely to be born healthy and at term.

Midwifery continuity of care models are typically available to women with pregnancies that are deemed ‘low risk’, but strong evidence supports the benefits of these models of care for women from vulnerable or disadvantaged groups who typically experience higher rates of preterm birth.

In Australia, we see higher preterm birth rates in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander women, women of migrant or refugee background, women living in remote areas, women under 25 years or women experiencing social and economic disadvantage. Midwifery continuity of care may be difficult or impossible to access for these women, but it is a safe and cost-effective option which should be made available.

ACM supports APTBPA in their recommendation of women being able to choose both their care provider and their preferred model of care for their pregnancy; a principle that should be respected and protected.

Further, ACM joins APTBPA in their call to jurisdictional health departments and healthcare providers to increase access to midwifery continuity of care models, including for women in vulnerable, higher risk groups, as a public health strategy to safely reduce the rising rate of preterm birth in Australia.

END

For comment, please contact:

Hilary Rorison, Midwifery Advisor – 0409 199 087

Additional information: The Australian College of Midwives

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

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