This unit (HMB2001) will introduce pathophysiological, principles and disease processes, illustrating their relationship to a range of common acute and chronic disease conditions, relevant to midwifery practice. This knowledge lays the foundation for exploring ways to optimise health and wellness for women during pregnancy and birth with the administration of safe and appropriate medications. Pharmacokinetics of maternity medications are explored in the context of women's and babies' needs with a focus on students developing and applying clinical decision-making strategies for the safe administration of medications within their scope of practice.

Unit details

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:


HBM1001 - Anatomy and Physiology 1 and

HBM1202 - Anatomy and Physiology 2 and

HMB1001 - Foundations of Midwifery and

HMB1002 - Fundamentals of Midwifery and Nursing

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Contextualise the pathophysiology of health conditions related to childbearing and identify evidence-based paths of care for women to optimise health and wellness;  
  2. Critique pathophysiological conditions of women during childbearing using an evidence-based approach;  
  3. Explain the principles of pharmacological interventions in the care of women;  
  4. Discuss safety and efficacy issues of medications pertaining to childbearing women within the context of pregnancy, intrapartum and the early parenting periods; and  
  5. Develop and demonstrate clinical decision-making skills to problem-solve potential complications with applied medication management in maternity care.  


All assessment tasks are linked in that they build up to the final task supporting students' use of critical thought processes. Online quizzes in Weeks 1 and 2 of block comprise multiple choice questions that assess knowledge on pathophysiology, pharmacokinetics and laboratory work around infection control. The Discussion Board posts for Assessment Two entail students contributing their understandings of a pregnancy-related health condition with students responding to posts assessed with a reflective learning rubric. This informs students' ideas, concepts and reflections when writing the case study that contextualises pathophysiological health conditions and applied medication management to a specific scenario of a woman and her unborn baby's care. This links to the Portfolio assessment piece where students will be directed to share key messages from their case studies through the duration of the block.
Assessment type Description Grade
Test Multiple choice questions- Week 1 (10%) and Week 2 (10%) 20%
ICT (Wiki, Web sites) Written post and students responses to peers’ posts (600 words) 20%
Case Study Response to case study linking pathophysiology and pharmacotherapeutics to women’s care (1000 words) 30%
Portfolio Compilation of: Key insights from case study including appropriate and safe use of medications. This will be submitted at two points during the block. 30%

Required reading

Physiology in Childbearing with Anatomy and related Biosciences 4th ed.
Stables D. and Rankin J, 2017

Required midwifery medication readings will be made available in VU Collaborate.

Where to next?

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following courses. Refer to the course page for information on how to apply for the course.

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