Credit points


Campus offering

Find out more about study modes.

Unit offerings may be subject to minimum enrolment numbers.

Please select your preferred campus.

  • Term Mode
  • Semester 1Campus Attendance
  • Term Mode
  • Semester 1Multi-mode



Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit focuses on the alterations and changes in the antenatal period, the intrapartum period and the immediate postpartum period, inclusive of the midwifery assessment skills needed to assess and respond to the care needs of the woman and baby. Models of maternity care and the role of the midwife in primary health care will be explored in the context of woman-centred, evidence-based practice. The concept of community engagement will be introduced in this unit as an element of reflective practice and promotion of the common good. The introduction to midwifery unit is required by students to supports their transition from the disciplines of nursing or paramedicine into the midwifery profession by embedding knowledge of the biological and psychosocial changes associated with pregnancy and birth.

The aim of this unit is to introduce students to contemporary midwifery concepts, build on earlier learning about the anatomy and the physiological processes of childbearing to inform their understanding of the roles of the midwife in primary health care.

We recognise that people who access maternity care may have diverse gender identities, that those who do can experience marginalisation and oppression, and that using appropriate terminology can help with these community members’ recognition and visibility, acknowledge the variety of pregnancy and birth experiences people may have, and respect individuals’ preferences. To reflect this, terms such as ‘pregnant person’, ‘birthing person’, ‘childbearing people’, ‘parent’ and ‘chestfeeding’ may be used in the midwifery courses at ACU in addition to ‘woman’, ‘mother’, ‘maternity’, ‘maternal’ and ‘breastfeeding’, which are used not to exclude those who do not identify as a woman, but in recognition that women continue to be marginalised and oppressed in many places around the world and to respect their own individual preferences.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome Description
LO1Demonstrate knowledge of the role of the midwife in primary care, primary health care and professional, legal and ethical standards of midwifery;
LO2Demonstrate an understanding of the principles of community engagement as related to reflective practice and the common good;
LO3Relate knowledge of anatomical, physiological and psychosocial alterations and adaptations to health assessment skills and medication safety within the childbearing continuum;
LO4Analyse selected models of care in relation to safety, collaboration, the rights and self-determination of the woman and her family;
LO5Demonstrate effective communication and collaboration skills in relation to health promotion in pregnancy and early labour;
LO6Apply principles of care planning and evaluation of safe, holistic, evidence-based midwifery care for women, babies and their families in a culturally competent manner.

NMBA Midwife Standards for Practice

NMBA (2018) Midwife Standards for Practice developed in this unit are:

Standard/Attributes/CriteriaLearning Outcomes

Standard 1: Promotes health and wellbeing through evidence-based midwifery practice 

1.1; 1.2; 1.3; 1.4; 1.5; 1.6; 1.7 

LO1; LO2; LO4; LO5 

Standard 2: Engages in professional relationships and respectful partnerships  

2.1; 2.2; 2.3; 2.4 

LO1; LO2; LO4; LO6 

Standard 3: Demonstrates the capability and accountability for midwifery practice  

3.1; 3.2; 3.3; 3.4 

LO1; LO3 

Standard 4: Undertakes comprehensive assessments  

4.1; 4.2; 4.3 

LO3; LO5 

Standard 5: Develops plans for midwifery practice  

5.1; 5.2 

LO1; LO3; LO4; LO5; LO6 

Standard 6: Provides safety and quality in midwifery practice  

6.2; 6.3 

LO4; LO6 

Standard 7: Evaluates outcomes to improve midwifery practice  

7.1; 7.2; 7.3;  

LO2; LO6 


Topics will include: 

 Legal and professional practice 

  • Review general registration requirements for the Midwife  
  • Review role of AHPRA for Midwives 
  • Evidence-based midwifery 
  • Medication knowledge and administration 
  • Health technology and informatics 
  • Assertive communication skills

Midwifery knowledge and practice 

  •  Role of the midwife  
  • Models of care 
  • Primary care across the continuum 
  • Multidisciplinary team  
  • Collaborative practice 
  • Autonomous practice 
  • Philosophies of midwifery 
  • Woman-centred care 
  • Partnership with women 
  • Continuity of care 
  • Physiological and psychosocial alterations and adaptation  
  • Antenatal 
  • Labour and birth 
  • Immediate postnatal changes 
  •  Anatomical, physiological alterations and adaptations  
  • Conception, embryology and fetal development 
  • Pregnancy 
  • Birth  
  • Postnatal 
  • Lactation 
  • Pre-conception and pregnancy care 
  • Pre-conception health  
  • Teratogens 
  • Miscarriage including ectopic pregnancy 
  • Principles and practice of antenatal care 
  • Screening  
  • Antenatal health assessment e.g. abdominal palpation, psychosocial assessment 
  • Documentation of antenatal care 
  • Discharge planning 
  • Labour and birth care 
  • Assessment and care during labour and birth  
  • Immediate post birth care of mother and baby 
  • Introduction to feeding methods, lactation and breastfeeding practices, formula feeding 
  • Promoting infant attachment through supporting the family unit 

Midwifery as primary health care  

  • Medication knowledge and administration
  • Midwifery as a public health strategy 
  • Primary Health Care (PHC): Principles, philosophy and strategies   
  • Theoretical basis for health promotion and health education in childbearing 
  • Family care 
  • Cultural safety 

Reflective and ethical practice 

  • NMBA Codes of Ethics and Professional Conduct 
  • Community Engagement  

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Modes of delivery in this unit include an intensive block immediately prior to semester commencement, followed by learner-centred resource sessions, tutorials, online classrooms, clinical laboratory activities and Continuity of Care Experience (CCE). Consistent with adult learning principles, the teaching and learning strategies used within these modes of delivery will provide students with foundational knowledge and skills relevant to professional midwifery practice. These strategies will also support students in meeting the aim, learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the unit and the broader course learning outcomes. Learning and teaching strategies will reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively with peers.  Scenario-based learning, case-based learning, problem-based learning and inquiry-based learning are all used to support the development of students' independent learning ability.

Students entering university need significant support to transition into a learning and teaching environment where they are required to drive their own learning. To guide students in their learning, feedback is required to identify what is being done well, what requires additional work and to identify progress toward required learning outcomes. Located in the first year of the programme, this theory unit includes significant face-to-face teaching hours to assist students in linking midwifery theory with practice. Learner-centred resource sessions are utilised to convey content and central principles while tutorials deliver interactive learning sessions. These sessions include formative feedback to build foundational tertiary study skills while also providing an opportunity to establish group-work and community learning skills. Online materials are introduced to provide students with a foundation for ongoing, self-directed, self-motivated, off-campus study. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures consistent with University assessment requirements will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes.  

The written assignment enables students to demonstrate their understanding of foundation midwifery knowledge and principles including the midwifery role in relation to community engagement. Group work will be included in this foundational unit to develop skills in working in teams to reach successful outcomes, reflective of how midwives work within a multidisciplinary team and apply group skills in health education. The examination enables students to demonstrate overall knowledge and understanding of content in the unit. 

These assessments are required to build student knowledge and skills which, by the conclusion of this programme, will enable the student to graduate as a safe and effective midwife. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1: Written Assignment (1200-1500 words) 

Enables students to achieve skills in academic writing and referencing and to articulate their knowledge and understanding of foundational midwifery practice.  


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Assessment Task 2: Group Work (including Oral Presentation) 

Enables students to achieve sound communication skills and demonstrate understanding of key issues in foundational midwifery practice. 



Assessment Task 3: Written Examination (2hrs) (Central Examination Period) 

Enables students to demonstrate overall knowledge and understanding of content in the unit. 


LO3, LO6

Representative texts and references

Marshall, J., & Raynor, M. (Eds.). (2020). Myles Textbook for Midwives (17th ed.). Elsevier. 

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia [NMBA]. (2013). Code of ethics for midwives. International Confederation of Midwives. 

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia [NMBA]. (2018). Code of conduct for midwives. Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. 

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia [NMBA]. (2018). Midwife standards for practice. Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia.  

Page, L., & McCandlish, R. (2006). The New Midwifery: Science and Sensitivity in Practice (2nd ed.). Churchill Livingstone.  

Pairman, S., Tracey, S., Dahlen, H., & Dixon, L. (2018). Midwifery: Preparation for Practice (4th ed.). Elsevier.

Rankin, J. (Ed.). (2017). Physiology in Childbearing with Anatomy and Related Biosciences (4th ed.). Elsevier.

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs