Considered a type of nurse, midwives hold a licence to practise midwifery, which is an area of health specialising in pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum. Midwives are fully trained to deliver babies however if you require a caesarean, while your midwife can be present, an obstetrician (a specialised doctor) will be required to perform a delivery of this kind.

From trimester one through to three, a midwife's role is to monitor you and your baby at all antennal appointments. They’ll track your progress, baby’s size, baby’s movement and position and they’ll assist in setting up any necessary appointments (for example your Gestational Diabetes test). Most importantly, they will be on call for your delivery. If you are in the private system in Australia, when you go into labour midwives will generally care for you until you’re ready to deliver. From that point, the obstetrician will step in.

If you’re in the public system, unless you’re in a high risk category or you’ve booked an elective caesarean, your pregnancy, birth and postpartum experience will be in the hands of midwives. If you would rather have one assigned midwife rather than a collection, make sure to tell your GP or birth hospital as soon as possible so they can add you into a specified midwifery group, or on a list if they’re at capacity. Some women prefer an assigned midwife for continuity of care reasons.

If you are assigned one particular midwife, usually you’ll have access to a mobile number so you can text or call them when you need throughout the pregnancy. If you’re not in a midwifery program, call the hospital directly.

Following the birth, the midwife will come to your home to check-in on you and your baby.

At these visits the midwife will check your physical health. Some things they’ll monitor is your uterus (as after birth it’ll contract and shrink), your stitches if you had a tear, episiotomy or a caesarean, and how you are tracking with breastfeeding. Baby wise, the midwife will check their skin, weight and overall general health. At these appointments, feel free to ask your midwife about anything you’re worried or unsure about. They’re there for you.

Back to the Labour & Birth Guide

Read More from the Guide