Introduction: A midwifery-led, group antenatal care service, ‘Expecting and Connecting’, was established in 2013 at the Sunshine Coast on the campus of the local University, in collaboration with the local health service. Based on the Centering Pregnancy model, the service incorporates antenatal health care, education and peer-to-peer support delivered via group facilitation. A key aspect of the service is the integration of midwifery students and midwifery academics as part of the team providing care, specifically in the context of the continuity of care clinical experience requirements of their midwifery education. Methods: A two-phase mixed methods study design was undertaken to evaluate the program. Qualitative data were collected from students, midwives and mothers engaged with the service regarding their experience and perceptions of ‘Expecting and Connecting’. The second phase (ongoing case-control study) examines clinical outcomes between ‘Expecting and Connecting’ and standard hospital care, specifically caesarean section, preterm and low birth weight, pain relief used in labour, mode of birth and breastfeeding exclusivity and duration. Results: Preliminary qualitative findings are overwhelmingly positive with all participants agreeing on the value of the service and a desire for it to continue and expand. Emergent themes around expansion of role, women centred care and student learning align with other literature in this area. Quantitative analysis of a matched cohort set (case-control study) will also be presented examining health outcomes. Conclusions: The implications of these findings for policy makers are that community based group antenatal care is both desired and achievable. It also provides important insight into the student learning experience within this context, specifically in the domain of the continuity of care requirements for their midwifery degree.
19th Australian College of Midwives (ACM) Biennial Conference: Super Midwives - Making a Difference, Gold Coast, Australia 5-8 October 2015
Women and Birth / Vol. 28, No. Supplement 1, pp.S11