This unit builds on the content of "Complex Pregnancy And Birth 1" and introduces students to the more complex health problems that women may experience during labour, birth and the postpartum period. Students will be assisted to develop their existing knowledge and skills by working with women and other members of the healthcare team when problems arise during labour, birth and the first weeks after birth. Emphasis is given to the collaborative role of the midwife, referral mechanisms, use of medical technology and intervention, and the implications of these for the woman, her baby and the midwife. The understanding and application of evidence-based knowledge will be utilised related to midwifery practice. Specifically the content covered will include: - Unexpected problems during labour and birth such as inco-ordinate uterine action, the intervention cascade, cord presentation and prolapse, fetal distress, primary postpartum haemorrhage, shoulder dystocia, maternal shock and collapse; - Collaborative and referral role of the midwife; - Maternal health problems in first weeks after birth such as breastfeeding problems, pyrexia, secondary postpartum haemorrhage, haematomas and post-caesarean section extra care; - Medical technology and procedures such as ultrasound, cardiotocography, epidural analgesia, forceps & ventouse, caesarean birth and care and assisting with obstetrical interventions; - Central venous pressure (CVP) monitoring; - Magnesium sulphate infusion; - Intravenous infusion pumps; - Dynamap and blood pressure monitoring; - Advanced CTG skills; - Perineal suturing; - Resuscitation and care of the sick woman. Note: The level of information in the descriptor is that which is required by the external accreditation agency ANMAC for successful approval of the course.

Unit details

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Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Apply knowledge from anatomy and physiology in the care of women experiencing a complex labour and birth and/or postpartum period;  
  2. Use an evidence-based approach to examine specific medical and obstetric conditions that affect labour, birth and the postpartum period;  
  3. Examine perinatal mental health issues and the implications for mothers, families and caregivers with reference to contemporary evidence;  
  4. Evaluate the implications of obstetric interventions for the women and midwifery practice;  
  5. Critically examine the use of technology in midwifery and obstetric practice;  
  6. Perform midwifery practice skills in a simulated laboratory and clinical environment;  
  7. Demonstrate skills in the management of maternity care emergencies;  
  8. Apply evidence-based knowledge to midwifery practice related to complex health issues women may experience in their maternity care;  
  9. Interpret the role of the midwife as a member of a collaborative health-care team; and  
  10. Explore community resources available to provide support for women in the community.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Essay Written Essay (1500 words) 40%
Examination Written Exam (3 hours) 60%

Required reading

A guide to effective care in pregnancy and childbirth
Enkin, M,, Keirse, M., Neilson, J., Duley, L., Hodnett, E. & Hofmeyr, J. (2000)
Oxford University Press: Oxford.

Managing complications in pregnancy and childbirth. A guide for midwives and doctors
World Health Organisation. (2003)
WHO: Geneva.

Myles textbook for midwives 16th ed.
arshall, J. E., Raynor, M. D., & Myles, M. F. (Eds.). (2014)
Oxford : Churchill Livingstone

CTG made easy 4th ed.
Gauge, S., & Symon, A. (2012)
Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier

Skills for midwifery practice 4th ed.
Johnson, R., & Taylor, W. (2016)
Edinburgh: Elsevier

These midwifery-specific texts are the most recent editions as approved by the external accreditation agency ANMAC.

Where to next?

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