Hello and congratulations on this wonderful and exciting time in your life.
My name is Sarah, and I am currently studying midwifery at the University of Queensland. A large part of my degree involves following and supporting women throughout their pregnancy, labour and post natal period in a process called the Continuity of Care Experience.
While this is invaluable to me as a student in my learning process, women who have participated in this program in the past often report that having a student midwife provides a friendly, familiar face during a time which can be filled with uncertainty. Furthermore, research[i] has shown that women who receive continuity of care from a known provider, even if that's a student, have much better outcomes including lower rates of intervention for both the mother and newborn, feeling well- prepared for labour, being able to freely discuss any concerns felt during the pregnancy and were less likely to be admitted into hospital antenatally and use pain relief during labour and childbirth.
As part of the program we have the opportunity to follow women throughout their pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period until their baby is six weeks old, allowing us to get to know the woman and her family, having the chance to discuss her thoughts and feelings and ultimately experiencing the journey from the woman's perspective.
If you were to agree to take part in the continuity of care experience, I would provide support that could come in the form of phone calls, attendance at any antenatal appointments that you were comfortable with me attending, as well as the birth and post natal appointments. I will not take over the role as your primary care giver and at this point in my study, my role is purely one of support and learning, so I would not be performing any complicated procedures and will basically just observe and stay within my scope of practice, which involves taking your blood pressure or feeling your tummy to see what position the baby is in.
We are required to write a report about the experience, which will be used purely for educational purposes, will remain confidential and is non identifiable- you're given a 'false' name to protect your identity, and will be given a consent form to sign.
Please know that I would in no way try to control any aspect of your childbearing journey, there is no cost, and participation is purely voluntary; you are able to withdraw from the program at any time, with no bearing on the care provided to you or your family.
So, if you are interested, I would love to hear from any ladies who are 32 weeks pregnant or less and are being provided with care at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, in the North side of Brisbane, or if you are planning a homebirth with a private midwife.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss having me as your student midwife, then please email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be in touch.
If there are any questions that you feel were not addressed here, please do not hesitate to contact my continuity of care experience coordinator, Peta Winters-Chang at email@example.com
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and best of luck with everything.
[i] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/1....CD000062/full an article outlining some of the benefits gained through having continuity of caregivers.