Monday, August 23, 2010

Queensland Centre for Mothers & Babies August 2010 Newsletter

Choosing Where to Birth: What You Want To Know
The Queensland Centre for Mothers & Babies is developing an online database called Birthplace to provide information to women about all birthing facilities in Queensland. We wanted to know what information would be most useful, both to help women make decisions about where to have a baby and help women know what to expect from their planned place of birth. To find out what information to include, we ran the My Birthplace Study and asked women to tell us what they would like to know. Here is what they said: Top 10 most important questions to ask a birthing facility when deciding where to birth:
1. Can my support people (e.g. partner, companion) be in the birth room when I’m having my baby?
2. Can I choose what position I want to be in during my labour and birth here (e.g. squatting, sitting, moving around)?
3. Does this facility have an intensive care unit for babies (i.e. a ‘NICU’)?
4. Can my partner stay overnight (and is there a cost for this)?
5. Would other women recommend this facility to their friends?
6. How many women have skin-to-skin contact with their baby straight after birth?
7. Will my support people (e.g. partner, companion) be made to feel welcome?
8. What methods of pain relief can I have?
9. Can I have a vaginal birth at this facility if I have had a caesarean section ('C-section') before? 10. Can I ask to have an epidural for pain management?

As you might expect, we also noticed some differences in what was important to women based on where they lived. For example, women from rural and remote areas of Queensland said they also wanted to know how far a birthing facility was from their home and whether there were places near the facility that their family and friends could stay.

Thank you to all the women who took part in this study – your opinions are extremely valuable to us and will help us to make Birthplace the most useful it can be to women and their families in Queensland. Birthplace will be launched in December 2010

For more information about Birthplace or the My Birthplace Study (or to tell us whether you agree or disagree with what women have told us!) please contact Aleena at

Survey Update The “Having a Baby in Queensland: Your Story” survey for 2010 is well and truly underway. The survey asks women about their experience of maternity care in Queensland so that we can find out what is working well in maternity care in Queensland, and what needs to be improved. At the beginning of July, women who had a baby in February were invited to take part in the survey. We’ve had a fantastic response, with over 1000 women completing the survey so far. If you had a baby in March, you should receive your invitation in the mail shortly, if you have not already received it. When you do get it, you can either fill in the question booklet and send it back to us, call us on 1800 704 539 to organise a time to do the survey over the phone or complete the survey online at

Women who had a baby in April and May, your turn is coming! You can expect your invitations in the mail at the start of September and October. If you would like to complete the survey, but you didn’t have a baby between February and May this year, the survey is not open to you yet, but will be shortly. Fill in your details at and we’ll let you know when the survey is ready for you to complete.

A big thank you to everyone who has already completed the survey, and to everyone else, we look forward to hearing your story.

Presentation at the 12th International Conference for Language and Social Psychology (ICLASP12)
The 12th International Conference for Language and Social Psychology (ICLASP) was held at Griffith University, Southbank campus in Brisbane in June, 2010. The conference, held every two years, brings together those interested in communication from a language and social point of view, exploring the many facets that can contribute to how we communicate with each other. The centre took the opportunity to present its work to the international audience present at ICLASP12. With two of our chief investigators, Cindy Gallois and Bernadette Watson, leading the Centre’s presentation, all presenters enjoyed showcasing the work of the Centre to an audience not directly involved in maternity care, bringing about new ideas to help advance our work.

Those who presented at the conference were: Michelle Heatley - Results of a survey on maternity care providers’ attitudes towards birth and collaboration
Yvette Miller - Listening for change: Results from the Having a Baby in Queensland pilot survey Rachel Thompson - The Having a Baby in Queensland book: Developing a resource to promote informed choice in maternity care
Aleena Wojcieszek - The Having a Baby in Queensland website: Techniques for effective online communication of pregnancy, birth, and postnatal health information.

If you would like any more information, please feel free to contact us:

Centre welcomes new appointments
The QCMB recently welcomed the appointment of experienced midwife Hazel Brittain, current President of the Qld Branch of the Australian College of Midwives, to lead the Centre as acting director until the end of the year. An adjunct Associate Professor with Griffith University, Ms Brittain is taking a six month secondment from Logan Hospital where she is the current Nursing and Midwifery Director of Women and Children’s Services. Ms Brittain said she believed in informed choice for women and their families in maternity care, increasing access to continuity of care and carer models for maternity care, and improving collaboration between maternity carers. Ms Brittain will lead the centre until January 2011 when Professor Debra Creedy, the Head of Nursing at the National University of Singapore, will take on the role of Director.

Professor Creedy has a background as a registered nurse and clinical psychologist and is a past President of ANZAME, The Association for Health Professional Education. She has co-authored a textbook on health psychology, as well as more than 100 journal articles and book chapters. Her clinical research involves randomised controlled trials on effectiveness of counselling interventions to assist distressed postpartum women; models of best practice (e.g. promoting breastfeeding) and implementation of evidence into practice. Professor Creedy has also conducted nursing education research on PBL, use of web-based technologies and leadership development.

The Centre’s Indigenous Program update
Indigenous Program leader Patrice Harald met with Indigenous mums and community groups in and around Brisbane in March and April, with the aim of finding ways to improve maternity care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mums. The talks centred on ‘what is informed choice’ and what do Indigenous parents mothers and fathers know about the services provided by hospitals and hospital staff. Patrice has also been busy promoting and distributing the ‘Birthplace’ survey and the ‘Having A Baby In Queensland’ survey to community and government agencies to gather birthing stories from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers and to improve participation in the two surveys.

Special QCMB Projects:The Having a Baby in Queensland book – supporting you to make informed decisions about your maternity care.
The team at the Centre have started working on a book for pregnant women, which will be distributed through GPs. The first edition of the book will be a pilot to gauge if giving women the book has any impact on their pregnancy and birth. A thousand women will be given the book and will be asked a series of questions after their baby is born, while another 1000 women who have not been given the book will also be asked the same series of questions about their labour and birth. Designed to be provided to women in the early days of their pregnancy, the book closely follows the decision points contained in the new state-wide pregnancy health record. The book will briefly describe the options and provide women with the available evidence about the options in order to better enable women to make an informed decision, and to encourage women to discuss their preferences with their care providers.
The decision points that will be covered in the book include: model of care, scans and antenatal tests, mode of birth, induction of labour, vaginal examination, fetal monitoring, pain management, episiotomy, and the third stage of labour. Unlike most pregnancy books which contain the do’s and don’ts of pregnancy and birth, the Having a Baby in Queensland book will fill an information void which currently exists in maternity care. The book is designed to encourage active participation and equal collaboration between women and their care providers. It is anticipated the book will be ready to be handed out to women in December this year and we would really appreciate your help in getting this right. Consumers and clinicians if you would like to help review and comment on the information being produced please contact Hazel Brittain by email

Working together in maternity care: the Maternity Collaboration Project
All maternity carers want what is best for their client. However sometimes differences arise between carers, such as midwives and doctors, as to what this means and how it can work well in practice. The goals of the Maternity Collaboration Project is to look at ways to improve how maternity carers work together between themselves and with the women they provide care for. Working together is also commonly referred to as “collaboration” in maternity care. At the moment, we are currently meeting with carers who already have a collaborative approach to care to find out what has and hasn’t worked for them. We also hope to work closely with our Collaborative members (a group of carers, managers, and consumers who act as a reference group for the Centre’s work) to generate an approach to care that will provide best care for Queensland women. For more information about the project, please contact Michelle Heatley

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