This unit builds on the content of "Quality Use of Medicines for Midwifery 1" and introduces students to the use of medication in pregnancy, labour, postpartum with a focus on lactating women and neonates. The unit aims to assist the students to attain knowledge of the effect of common medications and illicit substances on pregnancy and the developing fetus. Students will study medications used in labour and drug therapies' effect on lactation and the newborn. The unit will also present contemporary issues surrounding the legislation and the responsibilities of midwives in prescribing medication.

Unit details

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Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Describe drugs commonly prescribed during pregnancy and labour and articulate their effects on the woman and the developing fetus.  
  2. Analyse pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of medications as it pertains to lactation and the neonate.  
  3. Debate the benefits and dilemmas of medication use during the childbearing continuum for women with a mental health condition and women using illicit substances.  
  4. Evaluate the use of drugs in neonates, including vaccination and their adverse effects on term and premature babies.  
  5. Appraise the professional issues related to midwifery in relation to prescribing medication.  
  6. Demonstrate numeracy skills required for the safe practice of medication administration.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Test Topic Test (1 hour) 20%
Essay Essay (1500 words) 30%
Examination Final Written Examination (3 hours) 50%
Hurdle requirement: Drug calculation test (100% needed for pass). Accuracy in medication administration is an absolute requirement for safe midwifery practice.

Required reading

Pharmacology and medicines management for nurses. (4th ed).
Downie, G., Mackenzie, J. & Williams, A. (2008).
Churchill Livingstone: Edinburgh.

Pharmacology for midwives: the evidence base for safe practice, (2nd ed).
Jordan, S. (2010).
Palgrave: Basingstoke, UK.

The references are approved as the latest editions by the external accreditation agency ANMAC.

Where to next?

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