Midwifery Continuity of Care

Receiving care from a known midwife during pregnancy, labour and birth, and early parenting has many well-established benefits.

These include: having a more positive experience during labour and birth, having less need of medical interventions, being more likely to have a vaginal birth, and being more likely to successfully breastfeed your baby.

This type of care is referred to as midwifery continuity of carer, meaning women receive care from the same midwife, or small group of midwives from early pregnancy through until after the birth of their baby.

A further benefit of midwifery continuity of carer is that it has shown to be especially effective in preventing babies being born early, with high quality evidence demonstrating that women are around 24% less likely to experience preterm birth.

For Aboriginal women in midwifery continuity models, the improvement is around 50%. It is for this reason that the Australian Preterm Birth Prevention Alliance recommends midwifery continuity of carer as an important part of the national strategy to safely reduce the rising rate of preterm birth in Australia.

Midwifery continuity of carer is provided in many different ways, in both the public and private sector. These models can be found in large metropolitan settings, in regional and rural settings and even in some remote communities.

Recent data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare indicates that around 18% of models of care in Australia offer full continuity of care by a midwife. Demand for these models is growing steadily, especially during the pandemic where Australian evidence has shown that women value the additional support that these models have provided during this time.

The way in which midwifery continuity of carer is offered continues to expand, meaning women are often able to choose a model that can be tailored to suit their individual maternity care needs.

To assist in securing a place in a continuity of care of program, women are encouraged to explore the options available in their health services and community as soon as possible after becoming pregnant.