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For Bachelor of Midwifery: (MIDW100 Clinical Midwifery Practice 1 OR MIDW122 Midwifery Professional Practice 2 ) AND MIDW113 Midwifery Care of the Pregnant Woman

For Bachelor of Midwifery (Graduate Entry): MDGE100 Introduction to Midwifery and Care of the Pregnant Woman AND MDGE101 Introduction to Midwifery Practice

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit focuses on the development of midwifery knowledge and attitudes related to working with women during labour and birth in a culturally competent way. The pre–pregnancy, antenatal anatomy and physiology of childbearing knowledge from previous units provides the building blocks for learning in this unit. Common interventions observed in labour and birth and knowledge of common medications will be explored.

This unit is required by students to assist their ongoing development of midwifery knowledge, specifically in relation to normal physiological changes during labour, birth and the immediate postpartum period.

The aim of this unit is to introduce students to contemporary concepts in relation to midwifery care of the birthing woman.

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 DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Appraise the influence of philosophical, physiological, psychosocial, spiritual, cultural, and environmental factors on birth;GC1, GC5, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11
LO2Describe the roles and responsibilities of the midwife in assessing, planning, providing and evaluating safe, culturally competent, collaborative and effective evidence-based care during birth;GC1, GC3, GC4, GC6, GC8, GC11
LO3Relate knowledge of anatomy and physiology of childbirth to the comprehensive assessment and monitoring of the woman and her baby during labour and birth;GC1, GC7, GC8, GC10, GC11, GC12
LO4Apply the principles of teamwork and self-management when planning, implementing and evaluating woman centred care and/or clinical responsibilities;GC1, GC2, GC4, GC8, GC10, GC12
LO5Describe common interventions for use during labour and birth and their rationale;GC1, GC2, GC10, GC11, GC12
LO6Apply knowledge and principles of safe medication administration within the scope of practice.GC1, GC2, GC8, GC11

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; 1.6; 1.7

LO1; LO2 

Standard 2: Engages in professional relationships and respectful partnerships  

2.1; 2.2; 2.3; 2.4; 2.5; 2.6; 2.7; 2.8

LO1; LO2; LO4 

Standard 3: Demonstrates the capability and accountability for midwifery practice  

3.1; 3.2; 3.3; 3.4; 3.5; 3.8 

LO3; LO4; LO6

Standard 4: Undertakes comprehensive assessments  

4.1; 4.2; 4.3; 4.4 

LO1; LO2; LO3; LO4; LO5 

Standard 5: Develops plans for midwifery practice  

5.1; 5.2; 5.3; 5.4

LO2; LO4; LO5 

Standard 6: Provides safety and quality in midwifery practice  

6.2; 6.3; 6.4 

LO1; LO4 

Standard 7: Evaluates outcomes to improve midwifery practice  

7.1; 7.2; 7.3 

LO2; LO4 


Topics will include: 

  • Legal and professional practice  
  • Informed consent 
  • Scope of practice 
  • Consultation and collaboration 
  • Documentation and use of health informatics and health technologies 
  • Accountability and responsibility 
  • Medication knowledge and administration 
  • Assertive communication skills
  • Midwifery knowledge and practice  
  • Post Partum Haemorrhage
  • Partnership: with woman 
  • Historical and cultural perspectives of labour and birth 
  • Assessment and monitoring of progress in labour 
  • Facilitating a supportive birth environment 
  • Supporting women during labour  
  • Anatomy and physiology of labour 
  • Midwives and women’s perceptions on of pain 
  • Assessment of pain  
  • Review non-pharmacological therapies 
  • Pharmacological therapies  
  • Facilitating the birth of the baby 
  • Maintaining integrity of the pelvic floor  
  • Facilitating the birth of the placenta  
  • Preparation for operative birth 
  • Immediate post birth care of the woman and baby 
  • Promote bonding and attachment 
  • Adaptation to extra-uterine life 
  • Maternal and neonatal assessment 
  • Interventions in labour  
  • Induction of labour 
  • Augmentation of labour 
  • Fetal monitoring 
  • Assisted vaginal birth 
  • Episiotomy 
  • Assessment of perineal status 
  • Perineal suturing 
  • Midwifery as primary health care  
  • Advocacy 
  • Supporting the woman and family to be self-determining in labour and birth decisions 
  • Promoting cultural competency  
  • Recognising the impact of moving from Country to give birth for Indigenous Australian women
  • Support collaborative midwifery practice  
  • Reflective and ethical practice  
  • Evidence-based midwifery practice 
  • Power relations in labour and birth 
  • Impact of personal beliefs and experiences of childbirth 
  • Self-care 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Modes of delivery in this unit include learner-centred resource sessions, tutorials/workshops, online classrooms and clinical laboratory activities. 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 second year of the programme, this theory unit includes moderate face-to-face teaching hours and an increasing online component of learning to build life-long learning skills. Lectures are utilised to convey content and central principles while tutorials/seminars deliver interactive and student driven learning sessions 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 essay will enable students to articulate their knowledge and understanding of the management of labour, birth and the postpartum period. The group work enables students to achieve sound communication and team skills and demonstrate understanding of normal physiological changes during labour, birth and the immediate postpartum period. 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 Outcomes

Assessment Task 1: Essay (1300-1500 words) 

Enables students to articulate their knowledge and understanding of the management of labour, birth and the postpartum period.


LO1, LO2, LO3

Assessment Task 2: Group Work  

Enables students to achieve sound communication and team skills and demonstrate understanding of key content issues.


LO3, LO4, LO5

Assessment Task 3: Examination (2 hours) (Central Examination Period) 

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


LO5, LO6

Representative texts and references

Australian College of Midwives [ACM]. (2021). National Midwifery Guidelines for Consultation and Referral (4th ed.). Australian College of Midwives.

Baker, L.S., Beaves, M.C., & Wallace, E.M. (2021). Assessing Fetal Wellbeing; A Practical Guide. Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists.

Bryant, B., Knights, K., Rowland, A., & Darroch, S. (2018). Pharmacology for Health Professionals (5th ed.). Elsevier. 

Chapman, V., & Charles, C. (2017). The Midwife's Labour and Birth Handbook (4th ed.). John Wiley & Sons Ltd. 

MacDonald, S., & Johnson, G. (Eds.). (2017). Mayes' Midwifery (15th edition.). Elsevier.

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia [NMBA] (2018). Midwife Standards for Practice. Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia.

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

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.

Wylie, L. & Bryce, H. (2016) The Midwives' Guide to Key Medical Conditions (2nd ed.). Elsevier.

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