Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


For BMidw students: BIOL122 Human Biological Science 2 AND MIDW200 Clinical Midwifery Practice 2 AND MIDW216 Midwifery Care of the Birthing Woman

For BMidw (Graduate Entry) students: MIDW200 Clinical Midwifery Practice 2 AND MIDW216 Midwifery Care of the Birthing Woman

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit extends students' knowledge of the complications and emergency situations in childbearing and the related midwifery and obstetric management. The unit focuses on the collaborative role of the midwife, referral, use of medical technology and medications, obstetric intervention, and the implications of complications for these women, their families, and care providers. This unit is required by students to assist their ongoing development of midwifery knowledge, specifically in relation to birthing complications and other emergencies in the childbearing continuum.

The aim of this unit is to build on earlier learning about physiological processes of childbirth, and extend students' knowledge of assessment and care planning for women experiencing birthing complications and emergencies in the antenatal, intranatal and postnatal period.

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.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Outline the role of the midwife when caring for the woman with complex needs across the childbearing continuum, as part of a culturally competent collaborative team (GA7, GA8)

LO2 - Identify women at risk of complications that may occur across the childbearing continuum (GA5)

LO3 - Apply knowledge of anatomy, pathophysiology and pharmacology to plan and evaluate safe, effective, evidence-based, collaborative care utilising current guidelines for consultation and referral (GA5)

LO4 - Demonstrate sound knowledge of the ethico-legal responsibilities of the midwife related to emergencies and perinatal loss (GA1, GA3)

LO5 - Design effective evidence-based strategies to support the woman and her family following pregnancy loss (GA1) 

Graduate attributes

GA1 - Demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA3 - Apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA5 - Demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - Work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - Locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

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 

1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.7

LO1, LO3

Standard 2: Engages in professional relationships and respectful partnerships  

2.2, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6, 2.7, 2.8

LO1, LO2, LO3

Standard 3: Demonstrates the capability and accountability for midwifery practice  

3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7 

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Standard 4: Undertakes comprehensive assessments  

4.1, 4.2, 4.3

LO1, LO2

Standard 5: Develops plans for midwifery practice  

5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4

LO1, LO3, LO5

Standard 6: Provides safety and quality in midwifery practice  

6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4

LO1, LO3, LO5

Standard 7: Evaluates outcomes to improve midwifery practice  

7.1, 7.2, 7.3

LO1, LO3


Topics will include: 

Legal and professional practice 

  • Consultation and referral 
  • Midwifery leadership and delegation in emergencies 
  • Documentation in emergencies and use of health informatics and health technology 
  • Legal responsibilities related to fetal and/or maternal morbidity and mortality 
  • Medication knowledge and administration 


Midwifery knowledge and practice 

  • Maintaining a woman-centered focus in complex care including emergencies 
  • Communication strategies  
  • Screening and assessment 
  • Infections 
  • Hypertension, 
  • Gestational diabetes 
  • Haematological dyscrasias 
  • Pathophysiology and management of complications in pregnancy  
  • Hyperemesis gravidarum 
  • Abruptio placenta and placenta praevia 
  • Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy 
  • Pre-eclampsia, HELLP syndrome, DIC 
  • Comorbidities: diabetes mellitus, thyroid disease, heart disease, renal disease, obstetric cholestasis, thromboembolic disease, infections, iso-immunisation 
  • Multiple pregnancy  
  • Deviations in the rhythm and mechanisms of uterine activity 
  • Incoordinate uterine activity 
  • Malposition 
  • Malpresentations including brow, breech and shoulder presentation 
  • Cephalo-pelvic disproportion 
  • Obstructed labour 
  • Preterm labour 
  • Risk assessment, prevention and management of life threatening emergencies  
  • Trauma in pregnancy 
  • Cord prolapse 
  • Shoulder dystocia 
  • Pulmonary embolism 
  • Amniotic fluid embolism 
  • Eclampsia 
  • Uterine inversion 
  • Uterine rupture 
  • Grief and bereavement following pregnancy loss 
  • The midwife’s role 
  • Facilitating family contact and memory creation 
  • Resources 
  • Self-care 


Midwifery as primary health care 

  • Promoting the rights of the woman with complex needs and in an emergency 
  • Professional relationships and collaboration in complex care and emergency situations 


Reflective and ethical practice 

  • Debriefing for women and care providers following emergencies 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Modes of delivery in this unit include learner-centred resource sessions, tutorials, online classrooms and quizzes. 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.

Students at university need to operate effectively as self-sufficient learners who drive their own learning and access the learning supports they require. 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 second year of the programme, this theory unit includes face-to-face teaching hours and an increasing online component of learning to build life-long learning skills. Learner resource sessions are utilised to convey content and its central principles while tutorials deliver interactive and student-driven learning opportunities which require an increasing reliance on students to extend their community of learners and increase self-reliance. Online materials provide students with the opportunity to undertake  directed, self-motivated study and continue to transition to independent study and life-long learning.

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 provides students with the opportunity to explore the evidence base regarding assessment and care planning for women experiencing birthing complications and emergencies. Online presentations will be used throughout semester to promote learning of the difficult and challenging concepts covered in this unit. The examination enables students to demonstrate a sound knowledge base in addressing content and process questions related to unit content.

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 OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Written Assignment (1,200 – 1,500 words) 

Enables students to achieve skills in academic writing and referencing and to articulate the evidence base for assessment and care planning in relation for women experiencing birthing complications and emergencies. 


LO1, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA3, GA7, GA8

Online Quizzes

Enables students to demonstrate learning of the difficult and challenging concepts covered in this unit.


LO2, LO3


Written Examination (2hrs) (Central Examination Period)

Enables students to demonstrate overall knowledge and understanding of content in the unit Different in 2021 handbook.


LO2, LO3


Representative texts and references

Bryant, B., & Knights, K. (2015). Pharmacology for health professionals (4th ed.). Chatswood,: Elsevier.

Chapman, V., & Charles, C. (2013). The midwives labour and birth handbook (3rd ed.). Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia [NMBA]. (2010). National competency standards for the midwife. Melbourne: Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia.

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia [NMBA]. (2013). Code of ethics for midwives in Australia. Melbourne: Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia.

Pairman, S., Pincombe, J., Thorogood, C., & Tracey, S. (2015). Midwifery: Preparation for practice (3rd ed.). Sydney: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.

Stables, D., & Rankin, J. (Eds.). (2010). Physiology in childbearing (3rd ed.). Sydney: Elsevier.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists [RANSZCOG]. (2014). Intrapartum Fetal surveillance; clinical guideline (3rd ed.). East Melbourne: Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists.

Walsh, D.,& Downe, S. (Eds.). (2010). Essential midwifery practice intrapartum care. Chichester UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

Wylie, L., & Bryce, H. (2008). The midwives' guide to key medical conditions. Philadelphia: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier. 

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