Do you know what a Midwife is and what your care options are in Perth? There are a lot more options than many people realise and you will find links to all of the options below.

(You will find a blog post all about Obstetrician options in Perth here and a blog on helping you decide on the right care provider for you here)

But first off, let’s look at what a Midwife actually does and what you could expect if you were receiving you care with a Midwife…

A midwife is a trained professional who provides antenatal, birth and postnatal support to a mother and baby and are the experts in normal, natural births. You will have all your antenatal checks and birth planning discussions with your Midwife and they will be the one to deliver your baby unless there is a medical need for an Obstetrician to assist (but this is not common). Midwives can deliver babies at hospitals, birth centres or home.

What is the difference between a birth center and a hospital? A Birth Centre is more likened to a home environment than a clinical hospital environment. This can be a lot more comfortable and inviting as a birth space. The Centres are run by Midwives, allow for continuity of care and aim to have minimal intervention. You do still have the option of pain relief within a Birth Center with the exception of an epidural. If you decide you would like an epidural, or if you require a cesearean section, you will transfer to hospital (Birth Centre’s in Perth are currently on the King Edward Memorial Hospital site and within the Fiona Stanley hospital so transfer is quick and easy).

Research shows that there are a lot of benefits to midwife-led continuity of care for women throughout their pregnancy and birth. These include:

  • less likely to experience regional analgesia
  • less likely to have an episiotomy
  • less likely to have an instrumental birth
  • more likely to give birth without analgesia/anaesthesia
  • more likely to have a spontaneous vaginal birth
  • more likely to be cared for during labour and birth by a midwife they knew
  • less likely to experience preterm birth
  • less likely to have a fetal loss before 24 weeks’ gestation

This list has been taken from Dr Sara Wickham’s article which you can find here.

Most women should be offered midwife-led continuity models of care and women should be encouraged to ask for this option although caution should be exercised in applying this advice to women with substantial medical or obstetric complications.

-Dr Sara Wickham

So, what options are available to you around Perth, WA? Let’s take a look…

Hospital Antenatal Clinic

This is where you will attend a clinic at a hospital and you will see which ever midwife is working on the day (this is not a midwifery-led continuity of care option). All your progress notes will be shared among the team but you won’t have a primary Midwife. Hospitals that provide an antenatal clinic include:

Hospital Midwifery Group Practice (MGP)

The MGP model is based on case load – so each midwife looks after a certain number of women. This means you have one primary midwife that you will see at all of your appointments with a high chance of them delivering your baby. They typically work in teams of 3 or 4, so if your primary midwife can’t make your birth you will still have someone from their small team (which often you will have the opportunity to meet during your pregnancy). This option provides continuity of care with a known midwife

Hospitals that offer an MGP model include:

Community Midwifery Program (CMP)

The Community Midwifery Program is the same model as Midwifery Group Practice (case load) which provides the same continuity of care benefits however these Midwives are not linked to a particular hospital. They provide support for home births, at some hospitals (called Domino birth) and at the Kalamunda Birth Suites for low risk women.

This is a fully funded service so there are no out of pocket expenses for those with medicare.

Private Practice Midwives

Private practice Midwives (or independent Midwives) are practicing midwives who are not linked to a hospital or the Community Midwifery Program. These midwives provide continuity of care through antenatal, birth and postnatal support to low risk, healthy women in their own homes.

Some private practice midwives are eligible to provide services for Mum’s wanting to birth at King Edward Memorial Hospital however they don’t all have admitting rights so this would need to be discussed upon enquiry. This is an out of pocket expense option although eligible midwives are able to access the Medicare benefit scheme which means you will be able to claim some Medicare rebates.

Here is a list of private practice Midwives:

The above list of midwives are able to care for you antenatally, through labour/ birth and postpartum. There are other private practice midwives in Perth who do not provide labour/ birth support so they have not been listed. This list was originally compiled by Odile Chaperon of Earthside Perth. You can find her original blog post here. 

Independent Midwife Clinics

There are also a number of midwife clinics available around Perth which offer a varying level of care throughout your antenatal, birth and postnatal periods. These often provide holistic care with a number of different services available throughout the same clinic.Here are a number of options for you to explore:

As you can see, there are quite a few options for Midwifery led care in Perth.

However there are more options for care available through an Obstetrician. If you would like to explore the options for an Obstetrician, check out this blog post here.

If you are feeling confused about which option would suit you better, visit this blog post for points to consider to help make your decision about which maternity care provider is right for you.

*If you notice an update or error in this blog, please contact me to advise so this information can remain as accurate and up to date as possible. 

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