Antenatal care? Home Birth? Midwife? Doula?
What do all these words mean?
AnteNatal Care : antenatal care is the regular health care pregnant women receive from a healthcare practitioner during pregnancy.
In Australia this care can be provided by a Midwife, General practitioner (G.P) or Obstetrician (OB). If a G.P is providing care it is in a 'shared care' relationship with care also provided by a midwife, antenatal clinic or OB service. Some G.Ps are also OBs and in this case care can be provided without the requirement of a shared care arrangement.
Antenatal care may be provided through a hospital or private practice antenatal clinic, it may be run through a midwifery group practice or private OB practice, a GP in a shared care arrangement with a midwife or OB, or entirely by a private midwife in your own home.
A home birth is the act of giving birth in your own home with the support and guidance of professional endorsed midwives. Home birth is considered safe for women with uncomplicated pregnancies, with current research supporting home birth as a safe option for women wishing to chose to birth outside the hospital.
Postnatal care is the care you receive from your chosen health practitioner after giving birth, usually for the first 6 weeks. This care can be initially in the hospital, if you birth in the hospital, at home with midwives, in the community at a Child and Family Health Centre or GP centre.
Childbirth Education: Education courses/workshops designed to provide information about labour, birth and early parenting.
International Confederation of Midwives Definition of the Midwife:
“A midwife is a person who has successfully completed a midwifery education programme that
is based on the ICM Essential Competencies for Basic Midwifery Practice and the framework of
the ICM Global Standards for Midwifery Education and is recognized in the country where it is
located; who has acquired the requisite qualifications to be registered and/or legally licensed to
practice midwifery and use the title ‘midwife’; and who demonstrates competency in the practice
Scope of Practice:
"The midwife is recognised as a responsible and accountable professional who works in
partnership with women to give the necessary support, care and advice during pregnancy,
labour and the postpartum period, to conduct births on the midwife’s own responsibility and to
provide care for the newborn and the infant. This care includes preventative measures, the
promotion of normal birth, the detection of complications in mother and child, the accessing of
medical care or other appropriate assistance and the carrying out of emergency measures.
The midwife has an important task in health counselling and education, not only for the woman,
but also within the family and the community. This work should involve antenatal education and
preparation for parenthood and may extend to women’s health, sexual or reproductive health
and child care.
A midwife may practise in any setting including the home, community, hospitals, clinics or health
International Confederation of Midwives. Core Document. 2017.
A doula (pronounced doo-la), is a trained birth worker who provides physical, emotional and spiritual support to the woman and family during pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period.
Scope of practice:
Doulas provide information and help facilitate access to knowledge to help support families on their journey from pregnancy to early parenting. During labour and birth doulas are an integral part of the birthing team, providing physical and emotional support to the woman and her family, acting as a go between with the health professionals and birthing family and supporting the family in advocating for themselves.
Doulas do not provide medical care, medical advice or attend medical interventions. Doulas who have dual qualifications, when working as a Doula, must not blur the lines between professions. eg: a registered Midwife working as a Doula cannot monitor fetal heart rates (FHR) during labour as this is not within the scope of practice of a Doula. To attend FHR the person must be employed as a registered Midwife.
Childbirth Education Classes-
We are often asked why people should bother with education classes. People tell us birth is instinctual and a natural act that cannot be taught, this is absolutely true. However what we know is that birthing, within the system that is modern healthcare, is not instinctual. Navigating complex care, interventions and mixed messages about was is safe, working out what 'risk' means, consenting for procedures and interventions you do not understand, is not natural. As birth-workers we know that women who choose to educate themselves are empowered in the decisions they make, come away feeling confident and become an active participant in the birth journey that unfolds for them.
So what courses and workshops
do Birthsisters offer?
Full Childbirth Education Classes:
A traditional class that helps you on your way through your pregnancy, labour, birth and early parenting. Learn about managing pregnancy discomforts, healthy eating, preparing for your birth journey, labour management, establishing breastfeeding or artificial feeding and parenting in the early days.
Empowered Birthing Course:
Learn about informed choice, owning your innate power as a woman and birthing on your own terms. This course is designed for families who feel they do not want to be passive recipients of care and is focussed on learning to examine risk, personal accountability for choice and empowerment.
Vaginal Birth after Caesarean Course or Next Birth after Caesarean (VBAC or NBAC):
This course is designed to support families planning for the next birth after surgical birth. The course can be taken prior to the next pregnancy as part of pre-conception planning or during pregnancy. The aim of the course is to help families facilitate a birthing journey that is safe, meets their personal goals and come away empowered. Core principle of the course are to support parents in their next birthing journey by providing up to date evidence and information about, VBAC/NBAC preparation, VBAC/NBAC best practice.
'The International Cesarean Networks (ICAN) 'Interdelivery Interval' paper states that current research supports 18 months interval between pregnancies as showing the lowest possible risk for uterine rupture (2.7% compared to 0.9% - meaning that 97.3% to 99.1% of women will not have a uterine rupture) however, the paper also states that women who have conceived in a shorted interval should still consider VBAC and review the 'risk' as it applies to their unique situation'
Birth Support Person Workshop:
Learn how to be the best support you can be for your partner, friend, sister or daughter. Come and learn from a Doula and Midwife support techniques, ideas and skills to enable you to feel an active part of the birthing team.
Transition to parenthood - 'we make three' Workshop:
For many families the 'birth day' is the easy part, learning the new dynamic of being three is the real hard work. 'We make three" workshop focusses on tips and skills for looking after your relationship as you welcome your new little one earth side. Learn the art of balancing family chores and learning a new way to embrace and further develop your new family.
Birth Planning or Mapping Workshop:
Workshop ideas for your personal birth journey through either a birth plan or a birth Map in this unique course. Learn about navigating the system, asking questions in an empowered way, setting boundaries and planning for your birthing journey.