Satisfaction with Team Midwifery Care for Low- and High-Risk Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Authors

  • Mary Anne Biró RN, RM, BA,

    1. Mary Anne Biró is Project Co-ordinator in the Women's and Children's Health Program of the Southern Health Service in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia;
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  • Ulla Waldenström RN, RM, BA, PhD,

    1. Ulla Waldenström is Professor of Nursing at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden;
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  • Stephanie Brown BA(Hons), PhD,

    1. Stephanie Brown is senior research fellow at the Centre for the Study of Mothers’ and Children's Health, La Trobe University, Melbourne; and
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  • Jan H. Pannifex RN, GradDipBus

    1. Jan Pannifex is former Nurse Director of the Women's Health Program of the Southern Health Service, Melbourne, Australia.
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  • The study was supported by a program grant (1994/95–1996/97) from the Australian Commonwealth Department of Health and Human Services, Canberra, Australia.

Address correspondence to Mary Anne Biró, Project Co-ordinator, Women's and Children's Health Program, Southern Health, Monash Medical Centre, Locked Bag 29, Clayton, Victoria, Australia, 3168.

Abstract

ABSTRACT:Background: In 1996 a new model of maternity care characterized by continuity of midwifery care from early pregnancy through the postpartum period was implemented for women attending Monash Medical Centre, a tertiary level obstetric service, in Melbourne, Australia. This study's purpose was to assess the impact of this model on women's views and experiences of care during the antenatal, intrapartum, and postpartum periods compared with views of women receiving standard maternity care.

Methods: One thousand low- and high-risk women who booked at the antenatal clinic and met the eligibility criteria were randomly allocated to continuity of midwifery care from a group of seven midwives in collaboration with medical staff, or to standard care from a variety of midwives and medical staff. Women's views of care were measured by means of a postal questionnaire at four months after the birth.

Results: Team midwifery care was associated with increased satisfaction with antenatal, intrapartum, and some aspects of postpartum care. The differences were most obvious for antenatal care.

Conclusions: Continuity of midwifery care is realistically achievable in a tertiary obstetric referral service and is associated with increased satisfaction. (BIRTH 30:1 March 2003)

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