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For Bachelor of Midwifery: MIDW127 Foundations in Midwifery OR MIDW111 Midwifery Professional Practice 1: Foundations in Midwifery Knowledge and Practice

For Bachelor of Midwifery (Graduate Entry): Nil

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit will extend foundational knowledge to provide safe, effective culturally competent care for women in the postpartum period including exploring human lactation and infant nutrition. The focus will be on the role of the midwife immediately following birth and including the first six weeks of the woman and her baby/ies covering the full scope of midwifery practice as described by the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM). The principles of surgical care will be explored in relation to the care of childbearing women. Students will have the opportunity to analyse socio-cultural dimensions related to lactation and nutrition. This unit is required by students to assist their consolidation of midwifery knowledge and skills specifically in relation to evidence-based care for women, babies and their families in the postpartum period.

This aim of this unit is to support students in the development of knowledge and skills regarding the role of the midwife in provision of materal and infant care, immediately following birth and extending to six weeks after birth. It builds on earlier learning about the anatomy and the physiological processes of childbearing.

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
LO1Outline the anatomy and physiological changes in the postpartum period for women and their babies;GC1, GC9, GC11
LO2Relate the socio-cultural dimensions of infant nutrition and breastfeeding in Australia and globally, which impact on promotion and protection of breastfeeding;GC1, GC2, GC5, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC11
LO3Reflect upon self-values and beliefs in regard to infant feeding, parentcraft and care of the postpartum woman;GC1, GC3, GC6, GC11
LO4Apply effective communication skills and principles of health promotion including identification of credible community resources for postnatal care and ongoing maternal health;GC1, GC4, GC7, GC8, GC11
LO5Apply the principles of clinical decision making to plan and evaluate safe, culturally competent, holistic, evidence-based care for women, babies and their families in the postpartum period.GC1, GC7, 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; 1.5; 1.7 

LO1; LO2; LO3; LO4; LO5 

Standard 2: Engages in professional relationships and respectful partnerships  

2.1; 2.2; 2.3 2.4 2.5; 2.6 

LO2; LO3; LO4; LO5 

Standard 3: Demonstrates the capability and accountability for midwifery practice  

3.2; 3.3; 3.4; 3.5; 3.6; 3.7 

LO1; LO3; LO5

Standard 4: Undertakes comprehensive assessments  

4.1; 4.2; 4.3; 4.4

LO1; LO4; LO5 

Standard 5: Develops plans for midwifery practice  

5.1; 5.2; 5.4 

LO4; LO5 

Standard 6: Provides safety and quality in midwifery practice  



Standard 7: Evaluates outcomes to improve midwifery practice  

7.1; 7.2; 7.3 

LO4; LO5 


Topics will include: 

Legal and professional practice 

  • Legal issues in midwifery and surgical care 
  • Informed consent 
  • Medication knowledge and administration 
  • Consultation and collaboration 
  • Health informatics and health technology  
  • Assertive communication skills

Midwifery knowledge and practice 

  • Postnatal physical and psychosocial alterations and adaptation  
  • Principles of infection prevention 
  • Postnatal care 
  • Postnatal assessment of mother and baby 
  • Hygiene: perineal care, infant hygiene 
  • Promoting bonding and attachment 
  • Infant behaviour in the early postnatal period 
  • Supporting the family unit 
  • Health screening and discharge medications (e.g.; immunisation) 
  • Transition to home and beyond 
  • Longer term outcomes for women following childbirth 
  • Infant nutrition 
  • Promoting breastfeeding (BFHI) 
  • Ethical considerations with infant feeding 
  • Evidence-based infant feeding practices 
  • Contemporary socio-cultural issues in infant feeding and nutrition locally and globally 
  • Science of human lactation 
  • Anatomy and physiology of the female breast 
  • Human lactation 
  • Composition of human milk 
  • Breastfeeding and families 
  • Hospital practices  
  • Education and community resources to support breastfeeding 
  • Positioning, attachment, frequency and duration of breastfeeding 
  • Special considerations (e.g. breast surgery, communicable diseases, multiple pregnancies, supply) 
  • Pharmacological and non-pharmacological considerations 
  • Breastmilk substitutes 
  • Options for women who cannot or do not want to breastfeed 
  • Preparation of infant formula 
  • Human milk banking 
  • Principles of postoperative surgical care 
  • Risk assessment (e.g. haemorrhage, infection, DVT) 
  • Education 
  • Post anaesthetic and post-surgical care 
  • Pain assessment and analgesia 
  • Manual handling and safe mobilisation including falls risk 

Midwifery as primary health care  

  • Education and health promoting behaviours e.g. safe sleeping 
  • Community resources for health and parenting support 
  • Reproductive and sexual health including family planning 
  • Family care 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Modes of delivery in this unit include learner-centred resource sessions, tutorials/workshops and online modules. 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. Resource sessions are utilised to convey content and central principles while tutorials 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.   

A quiz will be used to build upon learning throughout the semester, the content of which will be directly related to the online module content to promote student engagement in module content. The literature review provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate engagement with evidence based practice and analysis of the literature around postnatal care. 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 - Online Quiz

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


LO2, LO3

Assessment Task 2 - Literature Review (1500 words) 

Enables students to articulate their knowledge and understanding of the role of the midwife in provision of maternal and infant care, immediately following birth and extending to six weeks after birth. 


LO1, LO4, LO5

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

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


LO1, LO2, LO5

Representative texts and references

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

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

Johnson, R., & Taylor, W., De-Vitry Smith, S., Bayes, S. (2018). Skills for Midwifery Practice Australian & New Zealand Edition (1st ed.). Elsevier. 

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

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2021) Postnatal care NICE guideline [NG194]. National Institute of Health and Care Excellence. 

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. 

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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