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The Midwifery and Maternity Services Research Unit

Improving the health of Aboriginal mothers and babies through
continuity of midwife care: a mixed methods translational study

Helen McLachlan, Della Forster, Michelle Newton, Catherine Chamberlain (JLC), Fiona McLardie-Hore, Pamela McCalman. Collaborators: Sue Kildea, University of Queensland, Jane Freemantle and Karyn Ferguson, University of Melbourne; Jennifer Brown and Simone Andy, Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation; Jeremy Oats and Ngaree Blow, Melbourne Health; Marika Jackomos, Mercy Hospital for Women; Jacqueline Watkins, Western Health; Sue Jacobs, Jenny Ryan and Helena Maher, The Royal Women’s Hospital; Susan Donath, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute; Lisa Gold, Deakin University

In partnership with the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO), the Royal Women’s Hospital, the Mercy Hospital for Women, Sunshine Hospital and Goulburn Valley Health, we are undertaking a five year National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funded study which is evaluating the effect of continuity of midwifery care in pregnancy, labour, birth and the postnatal period (called caseload midwifery) on perinatal outcomes for Aboriginal women and their infants. We are exploring the research translation capacity of maternity services to embed and sustain caseload midwifery care for Aboriginal women, measure clinical outcomes and are exploring the acceptability of the model to Aboriginal women. We aim to bridge the gap between the current largely community-based care and the care women receive in hospital.

FUNDING: NHMRC partnership grant and funding from five partner organisations

Related publications
  1. McLachlan HL, Forster DA, Davey MA, Farrell T, Gold L, Biro MA, Albers L, Flood M, Oats J, Waldenström U. Effects of continuity of care by a primary midwife (caseload midwifery) on caesarean section rates in women of low obstetric risk: The COSMOS randomised controlled trial. BJOG. 2012;119(12):1483-92.
  2. Newton MS, McLachlan HL, Willis KF, Forster DA. Comparing satisfaction and burnout between caseload and standard care midwives: Findings from two cross-sectional surveys conducted in Victoria, Australia. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2014;14:426.
  3. Forster DA, McLachlan HL, Davey M-A, Biro MA, Farrell T, Gold L, Flood M, Shafiei T, Waldenström U. Continuity of care by a primary midwife (caseload midwifery) increases women's satisfaction with antenatal, intrapartum and postpartum care. The COSMOS randomised controlled trial. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2016;16:28.
  4. McLachlan H, Shafiei T, Forster D. Breastfeeding initiation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in Victoria: Analysis of routinely collected population-based data. Women and Birth. 2017;30:361-366.