WAVE: Women's and staff views: an evaluation of maternity care at Barwon Health. Baseline report Report uri icon


  • Summary (Report 1) In 2008 Barwon Health implemented major changes to the provision of maternity care with new approaches being taken in postnatal care and in models of maternity care. Postnatal care changes commenced in January 2008 and comprised a more flexible, individualised approach to care, with a focus on normalising the postnatal period. The changes were in response to the growing evidence from Australia and overseas that the care provided in hospital in the early postnatal period may be less than ideal for both women and care providers. The care may not meet the individual needs of the women in the limited time they spend in postnatal wards in hospitals and many midwives have reported that postnatal care provision is challenging. A caseload midwifery model of care – known as the ‘Midwifery Group Practice’ (MGP) commenced in July 2008. The MGP is a one to one midwifery model of care in which women are cared for by a primary midwife throughout pregnancy, birth and the early postnatal period. Women receiving MGP care receive antenatal, intrapartum and postpartum care from a primary midwife with one or two antenatal visits to be conducted by a ‘back-up’ midwife. An evaluation of these changes (known as ‘WAVE - Women’s and staff views: an evaluation of maternity care at Barwon Health’) is being undertaken by Mother and Child Health Research (MCHR), La Trobe University in collaboration with Barwon Health. The evaluation is multi-faceted, evaluating both the postnatal changes and the introduction of the MGP. It includes three cross-sectional surveys of women (550 women who gave birth before any changes, and 550 women giving birth after the implementation of each of the changes); two surveys of midwives; and key informant interviews with 10-15 women, 7-10 midwives and other key stakeholders. Focus groups are being undertaken with midwives involved in postnatal care provision. The health outcomes of women (and their babies) who are sent surveys at each of the three time points are also being explored. This document reports on the first component of the evaluation – ‘time point one’, which provides the baseline data for comparison with later time points.

publication date

  • 2009