Women's Reproductive Health

07 September 2023

Bringing a healthy baby into our world is a life-changing, miraculous experience, but, as anyone who's done it or held the hand of someone who's done it knows, it can be bloody tough too. The need for care and support doesn't stop when you leave the delivery suite. It can follow you for weeks and months afterwards. Especially for women who've experienced loss, trauma or mental and physical health impacts, those needs can be acute, and the right support is essential for a healthy mother and child.

But too often, in our regional areas, those supports aren't there or they're too hard to access. That's why I held a roundtable recently with Assistant Minister Kearney to discuss women's health in South Australia and what we can do to make a meaningful difference, particularly in communities in my state of South Australia, where birth services have closed after being established for a period of time or aren't provided at all. We know that, when this is the case in regional communities, it means that women are forced to travel far away from their support networks, their families, their dependent children and those supports in their lives that they need to have a safe and healthy delivery.

Midwifery continuity-of-care practices have the potential to be a complete game changer when it comes to maternal health in regional South Australia. I want to acknowledge the work of Elizabeth Bennett, the maternity unit manager of Yorke and Northern LHN's midwifery group, where midwifery continuity-of-care programs are running and providing outstanding care to women in these communities.

Reforming the maternal health landscape in regional Australia is going to need innovative solutions. Midwifery continuity of care is one of those solutions which can ensure that women in our regional areas aren't let down in their birthing journey and are offered the supports they need to bring a baby into the world safely.