Midwifery Group Practice
Midwifery group practise offers caseload midwifery-led care through the public hospital system. Caseload midwives work in small teams of about three to six midwives, who provide a version of continuity of carer to several women at a time. MGP is always supported by a an inter-professional collaborative team and if at any time medical advice or assistance is required, your primary midwife will consult with the appropriate health care specialists.
The midwife philosophy of being ‘with woman’ often means that midwives have a very holistic approach to pregnancy and birth, and view it as a normal life event. They also tend to spend more time at antenatal appointments, to fully support women’s needs. Research has shown that midwifery-led care has many benefits for mothers and babies and MGP midwives can offer a good level of continuity of carer. Because of this, midwifery group practice is often in high demand and it is a good idea to request this option from your hospital at your first booking appointment, as they fully book very quickly.
Some MGP programs only accept women who meet specific ‘low-risk’ requirements and those who prefer not to use pharmacological pain relief, while other hospitals have no limitations. MGP programs offer labour and birth care in the labour ward, the hospital birth centre (if there is one) and some have a homebirth service, our articles on private hospital and public hospital birth options, explains these choices further. Midwifery group practise can be in high demand and it is a good idea to tell the hospital at your earliest chance that you wish to have MGP care. This is even more important if you are planning to birth at home through the public system.
If you chose MGP care, you will be allocated a primary midwife who is responsible for the majority of your care. Your primary midwife will run most of your antenatal appointments which allows them to learn what you need and want. Over your pregnancy, you will probably also get to meet one or two of the other midwives in the team. These appointments may be at the hospital or in your home.
For labour and birth, your primary midwife will be present if they are available. Unfortunately, it cannot be guaranteed that they will be available at that time as your primary midwife may be attending a different birth, or you may birth on a day that they aren’t working (MGP midwives are rostered by the hospital). It is likely however that you will know at least one of the midwives (there are two) who attend your birth, as you will likely meet them during pregnancy.
If you stay in the postnatal ward after birth, your care will be provided by the midwives who work there, and your MGP midwife might visit you also. If you choose to go home soon after birth (or you birthed at home) your primary midwife or others in the team will visit you at home to check on you and your baby up to four to six weeks.