Want a happy pregnancy? Get to know your midwife.

woman didnt know she was pregnant

It seems a friendly face really does help.

As soon as you see those two lines appear on that pregnancy test your thoughts race. You wonder whether you are “showing yet”  (no). You wonder what it means if you do/don’t/have/have not felt sick, and you wonder how the heck you are going to get this thing out of you.

Happily these days there are many different options available for women regarding care during their pregnancy. Public or private? Obstetrician or midwife? A doula to help?

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Public or private? Obstetrician, midwife or doula? Image via iStock.

While they are all good choices for an individual a study in the International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology will reassure women who choose a midwife for their pregnancy care.

The study has found that women who are cared for by the same midwife throughout their pregnancy are less likely to need intervention such a caesarean sections during labour and are less likely to report a traumatic birth, regardless of whether it was her first child or not.

The Age reports that these women also were less likely to need an epidural and reported feeling less pain. (Bonus!)

The study has found that women who are cared for by the same midwife throughout their pregnancy are less likely to need intervention such a caesarian sections during labour. Image via iStock.

Researchers looked at 2300 women who birthed at the Royal Women's Hospital and found that 88 per cent of those who had been assigned their own midwife reported having a positive experience, compared with 74 per cent of those who received the standard level of care.

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Under other models midwives work on a roster system and a woman has no guarantee of who will deliver her baby.

The researchers are now calling for a similar type of program as is in place at the Royal Women's Hospital, and in 30 per cent of public hospitals nationwide to be implemented across the country.

unborn child
88 per cent of those who had been assigned their own midwife reported having a positive experience.

Under the program, called "Know Your Midwife", pregnant women are looked after by the same midwife during the pregnancy, birth and early postnatal period, and they can call on the midwife for advice or help at anytime. This level of continuity is not often available to women who receive the standard level of care.

The study's co-author, Royal Women's Hospital Professor of Midwifery Della Forster told The Age the "know your midwife" model is offered to women with low-risk pregnancies and that they were finding demand from women was exceeding the number of places available.

"We think it is a model that should be rolled out across the country because it really is the gold standard of care," Professor Forster said.

Watch these children find out they are going to have a sibling. Post continues after video.

Expectant mothers are categorised as low risk if they are under 35 years of age, have a full-term baby (37 to 42 weeks) with normal birth weight, don’t smoke and have no medical or obstetric complications including high blood pressure, diabetes, and previous caesarean section, twins or breech birth, among other things.

The findings have been backed up by four previous trials that showed midwifery continuity of care significantly reduces the need for women to have a caesarean section. A  further trial undertaken in Melbourne in 2012 which included healthy, low risk women in both groups , found that the caesarean section rate in the known midwife group was 19% compared with 25% in the usual care group, where women did not have a known midwife through pregnancy, labour and birth.

It's of financial benefit too, according to research presented on the page midwives.org.au the overall median cost of birth per woman was AU$566.74 less with continuity of midwifery care than with standard care.

woman didnt know she was pregnant
Midwifery continuity of care significantly reduces the need for women to have a caesarean section.

On social media mums-to-be have expressed their delight in the care they get:

"Im in my local midwifery group practice and I am seeing the same midwife who delivered my daughter 4yrs ago :) I have built up a relationship with her and a trust I don't think you can get from a doctor.
I see only her and her backup midwives for all my appt and feel very confident in expressing feelings and concerns with them. I have her mobile number and she is always just a call or txt away. I think this continuity of care is the best way to go. I'm definitely [sic] a women with them and not a number. All this through the public system and it dosent [sic] cost a cent!"

Another: "I find it absolutely great you get to know the ladys in the hospital that will be there when your in birth & caring for you during your stay."

The findings are promising for pregnant women and give families more choices about their pre-natal care.

Did you go through the know your midwife program? Was it beneficial for you?

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