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Models of Care

Women have the right to choose where and with whom they give birth.  Although 98% of women give birth in hospital  with midwifery or medical staff attending them, there is no legal requirement for a registered midwife/doctor be present, or that they birth in hospital.  Where a woman gives birth and who attends her is entirely her choice.

There are a number of models of care to choose from, depending on the location of birth and who attends the woman.

  • Midwifery Group Practice
    This model of care is provided by a midwife working out of a public hospital. Women in this model are assigned one midwife as their primary carer, with a backup midwife. The primary midwife will follow the woman through the course of her pregnancy, her labour and birth and up to 6 weeks postpartum. As a continuity of carer model, extensive research over decades across the developed and developing world has found Midwifery Group Practice type models offer the best outcomes for mothers and babies. Read more here (link to What is a midwife?) Most hospitals, however, provide Team Midwifery care instead (see below), which does not provide continuity of carer.
  • GP shared care
    In this model, a woman's care is shared between her GP and, as is usually the case, the Team Midwifery clinic at her local hospital. While this offers some continuity of care by the GP, there is no continuity with the midwifery team, who will attend the woman at her labour and birth.
  • Obstetric care
    This model of care is provided by private or public obstetricians in their clinic. They may or may not attend the woman at her labour and birth.
  • Team midwifery
    This is the standard maternity care provided to most Australian women where a team of midwives will share the care of a woman through her pregnancy, labour, birth and postpartum. The woman has no control over who will be present at her labour and birth.
  • Registered midwife
    This model of care is provided by a private midwife or a Midwifery Group Practice midwife employed by the local hospital (if that hospital provides a homebirth service). The primary midwife and the backup midwife will attend the woman during her labour and birth.
  • Unregistered carer/no carer ("freebirth")
    In this model a woman is attended by the people of her choice, none of whom act in the capacity of a registered midwife. This is also known as freebirth. Women have the right to choose where and with whom they give birth.
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