Published on 4 September 2013
The University of the Sunshine Coast is calling on local mothers-to-be to join its Connect Program, which provides pregnant women with extensive student midwifery support.
The USC-run program provides antenatal, birth and postnatal support via student midwives who work alongside professional maternity care providers.
Connect Program Coordinator Jessie Johnson-Cash said a trial of this program from 2010 to 2012 had been very successful.
“Since the start of the 2012 we have recruited nearly 200 pregnant women and the feedback has been incredibly positive. With the introduction of USC’s combined degree in Nursing Science and Midwifery this year, these numbers will continue to grow,” she said.
“The program is critical for midwifery students, who are now required by legislation to be involved in the care of more than 20 pregnant women throughout their pregnancy, birth and early parenting experience as part of their studies.
As part of the program, student midwives accompany pregnant women to antenatal appointments at USC's Collaborative Midwifery Clinic, public or private hospitals, or with local private practising midwives.
They are also expected, with the mothers’ permission, to attend births and to provide care and support beforehand and afterwards.
“One of the benefits for mothers who participate in the program is that they receive support from a known care provider throughout their pregnancy, birth and postnatal period,” Ms Johnson-Cash said.
“Studies show that continuity of care offers greater satisfaction for both women and midwives. Research has also shown that midwifery models of care lead to improved birth outcomes including less need for pain medication and instrumental or interventional births.”
The Connect Program and USC’s Collaborative Midwifery Clinic, which opened in March in partnership with the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service, have been funded by Health Workforce Australia as an Australian Government initiative.
Clinic facilitator Alison Broderick said the clinic has since welcomed 254 women through its doors and she expected interest to continue growing.
“Midwifery service is a highly respected and sought-after care model and many local women are realising the benefits,” she said.
“I would encourage women who attend the USC Midwifery Clinic, Nambour General Hospital or Sunshine Coast Private Hospital to seriously consider participating in the Connect Program as it offers a great deal of benefits for students and mums-to-be alike.”
For more details about the Connect Program, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0409 598 763.
— Jessica Halls