pregnancy

Meet the student midwives who go to all your appointments and are there when you give birth.

Hundreds of pregnant women in Queensland have been given the opportunity to get ongoing support from midwifery students.

The University of the Sunshine Coast has just extended a program that matches expectant mothers with their students.

More than 1,000 pregnant women have been involved with the university’s “connect” program since 2013 – with the idea that there are mutual benefits for students and pregnant women.

Third year student Amy Yates, who is due to finish her Bachelor of Midwifery this September, has cried at every birth she’s witnessed.

To earn her degree, the 25-year-old is required is to follow at least 10 women from early pregnancy to postnatal check-ups.

First year USC midwifery students. Image supplied.

"We are required to go to four antenatal visits, their labour and birth - if the woman wishes - and two postnatal visits – including their six week check if we can," Ms Yates told Mamamia.

"For a lot of mine, I go to all the antenatal visits and more postnatal visits as well because you’ve built up this relationship with the woman and it’s quite good if you can go along and see what’s happening with their pregnancy and the outcome, so that you can better advocate for them."

Her studies involve more than sitting in the waiting room and reading magazines.

"We get to do the hands-on stuff ourselves so we are the ones conducting the appointment under the supervision of a midwife," she said.

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Yates says by the time she has followed a woman's progress into labour and birth, she has formed a trusting relationship.

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"When they’ve got someone who’s been there since the start they are quite open with you and trusting and they trust what you’re telling them and you can empower then to be strong through their labour and birth," said Ms Yates.

The third-year student says in Queensland this new model of midwifery care is gaining traction.

Amy Yates at work. Image supplied.

"In midwifery group practice the midwives follow a few women from the start of their pregnancy until the six weeks after and that women only has contact with two or three known midwives the whole time. That’s the type of model I’m interested in going into when I am a midwife," said Yates.

"It’s a great experience to be able to build a relationship with the woman and the benefits of that continuity of care of the women having a known care provider are just outstanding. They have that trusting relationship with you, they are very open with things that they want in their labour and birth."

Pregnant woman face a full diary of endless appointments during what can be a long nine months of growing a baby.

During my first pregnancy, my partner was so excited he came to as many appointments as he could.

We both left work early to listen to the baby's heart for the first time or to find out if we were having a boy or a girl.

My partner was the only regular face along the long pregnancy appointment journey and when I gave birth (within the public health system in the UK), I had never met the midwives on shift.

It was so special and intimate and we didn't know each other at all.

That moment. Image via iStock.
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In contrast after spending nine months with pregnant women on their journey, 25-year-old Amy Yates says she can't helped be moved when she witnesses a birth.

"I cry every time. Every time I deliver a baby or a woman delivers a baby it’s very emotional – just to see the journey they have gone through," she said.

"Bringing new life into the world is just amazing and seeing how amazing women are to get through these labours and births and to finally have a gorgeous baby at the end of it is just very overwhelming emotionally – it’s beautiful to see."

USC's  Bachelor of Midwifery Program Coordinator, Dr Michelle Gray, said the program provides clear benefits for all involved.

“The students accompany pregnant women to their antenatal appointments, whether that’s at a public or private hospital, a medical clinic, or with local private practising midwives,” she said.

Women interested in taking part in the connect program must be less than 34 weeks pregnant when they first meet their midwifery student and can be birthing at any public or private hospital.

For more details about the program email connect program coordinator Jessie Johnson-Cash at [email protected].

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