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Midwifery

The University of Canberra Bachelor of Midwifery produces creative, socially useful and internationally recognised midwives for the future. Our graduates, in the spirit of the University vision, contribute to meeting the health needs of women and their families within our region and out into wider Australian and international communities. By connected theoretical and practical teaching the Bachelor of Midwifery's particular emphasis is on culturally equipping our graduates to be useful to all childbearing women and babies and their families including those from diverse cultures and races, and in particular, to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

For information on requirements relating to registration of health professionals in Australia or recognition of prior qualification from an overseas institution go to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) website.

Midwifery is taught from a strong belief in the value of childbearing women to society and the value of midwives to childbearing women and therefore to society, as outlined in the Australian College of Midwives Philosophy Statement

'Midwife means 'with woman'. This meaning shapes midwifery's philosophy, work and relationships. Midwifery is founded on respect for women and on a strong belief in the value of women's work of bearing and rearing each generation. Midwifery considers women in pregnancy, during childbirth and early parenting to be undertaking healthy processes that are profound and precious events in each woman's life. These events are also seen as inherently important to society as a whole. Midwifery is emancipatory because it protects and enhances the health and social status of women, which in turn protects and enhances the health and wellbeing of society. Midwifery is a woman centred, political, primary health care discipline founded on the relationships between women and their midwives. Midwifery:

  • focuses on a woman's health needs, her expectations and aspirations
  • encompasses the needs of the woman's baby, and includes the woman's family, her other important relationships and community, as identified and negotiated by the woman herself
  • is holistic in its approach and recognises each woman's social, emotional, physical, spiritual and cultural needs, expectations and context as defined by the woman herself
  • recognises every woman's right to self-determination in attaining choice, control and continuity of care from one or more known caregivers
  • recognises every woman's responsibility to make informed decisions for herself, her baby and her family with assistance, when requested, from health professionals
  • is informed by scientific evidence, by collective and individual experience and by intuition 
  • aims to follow each woman across the interface between institutions and the community, through pregnancy, labour and birth and the postnatal period so all women remain connected to their social support systems; the focus is on the woman, not on the institutions or the professionals involved
  • includes collaboration and consultation between health professionals.'

The midwifery relationship, founded on respect, expertise and a shared desire for the best health outcomes for women and their babies and thus their families and society in general, is viewed and valued as a practical health intervention which both increases the likelihood of good health for women and babies and assists in times of challenge to women's and babies' health. 

Pregnancy, childbirth and the transition to parenting are viewed as transformative processes. Taking our lead from Aboriginal cultures which believe that 'health is not just the physical wellbeing of the individual but the social, emotional and cultural wellbeing of the whole community […]' (Department of Health and Ageing, 1989), and from the World Health Organisation (WHO 2009:4) which defines health as being

…created and lived by people within the settings of their everyday life; where they learn, work, play and love. Health is created by caring for oneself and others, by being able to take decisions and have control over one's life circumstances, and by ensuring that the society one lives in creates conditions that allow the attainment of health by all its members.

Bachelor of Midwifery

The Bachelor of Midwifery degree provides a broad foundation for professional midwifery practice and leads to eligibility to apply for registration as a midwife in Australia and overseas. This course is underpinned by a strong woman centred philosophy and is taught by passionate midwives who are engaged with the practice and profession of midwifery.

Graduates will be prepared to work with diverse communities in a variety of settings including birth centers, regional and rural maternity units as well as  tertiary hospitals. They will be skilled at working with the childbearing woman, her significant others and other health professionals to optimise the woman's childbirth experience. They will also be well placed to contribute to the development of services, policies and research into maternity care.

Postgraduate Midwifery Programs

The postgraduate Midwifery programs aim to support maternity services in the delivery of high quality maternity care through developing the knowledge and skills of midwives in:

  • Leadership and innovation
  • Policy and practice development
  • Research and evidence informed practice

Graduates have high level communication skills, are able to respond creatively to professional challenges and are well placed to provide leadership in midwifery. Graduate students have the opportunity to study with students in allied health, education and governance.

The Discipline of Midwifery at the University of Canberra has a strong commitment to research, with a particular emphasis on research which is connected to the practice or profession of midwifery, promotes woman-centred care and contributes to the health and well-being of childbearing women and their families.

A vibrant faculty wide research culture provides opportunity for scholarly exchange with research students and staff members from a variety of other health related disciplines including; nutrition and dietetics, physiotherapy, public health, pharmacy, sport studies, psychology, nursing and occupational therapy.

In addition to the University and Faculty’s work in the area of education and research, members of the midwifery team are actively engaged in the profession and broader community. Seminars, workshops and conferences are regularly offered to disseminate the latest research and collaboratively develop innovative approaches to complex challenges in the health sector. The midwifery team has strong local, domestic and international professional networks and many of our staff hold leadership positions within the profession contributing to the high professional standards of midwifery internationally.