Optimising Childbearing

Course code NURS6591Units 10Level 6000Faculty of Health and MedicineSchool of Nursing and Midwifery

This course builds upon basic knowledge provided in pre-registration midwifery courses. It concerns how to optimise the biological, environmental, social, psychological and spiritual factors that interact to create the conditions that women and babies experience during the childbearing year.

Topics include review and extend normal physiology and psychology for optimal maternal and fetal health from prior to conception to six weeks post partum. This encompasses pre-conceptual health and nutrition for both parents. Genetics and epigenetics are reviewed to consider the impact of the womans environment on her physical and emotional health and the way in which this can effect the babys growth and development. The ideal birth environment is explored with reference to the birth space and the role of the midwifery guardian in creating and maintaining a safe and nurturing environment. Inter-professional collaboration is emphasised as essential for the woman feeling safe and thus optimising normal physiology. The role that the autonomic nervous system plays in mediating the physiology of labour, bonding and breastfeeding is examined with particular reference to cortisol, adrenaline, oxytocin, prolactin and endorphin. The long-term implications of experiences during the childbearing year for women and babies are examined.

This course is available only to registered midwives.

Available in 2014

WebLearn GradSchoolTrimester 3
Previously offered in 2015, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009
Objectives1. Describe the conditions that support normal maternal and fetal physiology and psychology for optimal pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding and post partum bonding.
2. Critically discuss pre-conceptual counselling in relation to the health and nutrition for both parents.
3. Describe the social and physical environmental factors that effect the maternal/fetal environment and thus genetic expression.
4. Review the research literature to examine the impact of the womans environment on her physical and emotional health and the way in which this can effect the babys growth and development; including timing of birth.
5. Compare and contrast a home-like and institutional birth environment in relation to studies of the impact of environment on the physiology of labour.
6. Describe the initiation and regulation of labour as a holistic phenomenon with particular emphasis on the role that the autonomic nervous system plays in mediating the physiology of labour, bonding and breastfeeding.
7. Describe the factors involved in the production, regulation and interactions of cortisol, adrenaline, oxytocin, prolactin and endorphin.
8. Critically discuss the evidence concerning the long-term implications of experiences during the childbearing year for women and babies
9. Sensitively discuss the role of the midwifery guardian in creating and maintaining safe and nurturing environments whilst simultaneously maintaining inter-professional collaboration
10. Reflect upon own midwifery practice to examine the choices that you make that either honours or diverts a woman's pathway towards optimal birth in her particular circumstances.
11. Discuss the implementation of woman-centred birthing services within state health structures
Content" Maternal and fetal physiology and psychology during childbearing year
" Pre-conceptual counselling
" Genetic expression and screening
" Impact of the womans environment on the baby
" Impact of birth environments on the physiology of labour
" Factors effecting the initiation and regulation of labour and breastfeeding
" The production, regulation and interactions of cortisol, adrenaline, oxytocin, prolactin and endorphin
" The long-term implications of experiences during the childbearing year for women and babies
" Midwifery guardianship and inter-professional collaboration
" Midwifery guardianship and womens empowerment
" Policy and practice of implementing woman-centred birthing services
" Physical fitness and exercise
TransitionNot applicable
Industrial Experience0
Assumed KnowledgeBachelors degree in midwifery (or equivalent) or Completion, of a graduate diploma in Midwifery together with current access to practice as a midwife.
Modes of DeliveryDistance Learning : IT Based
Teaching MethodsEmail Discussion Group
Experience Based Learning
Self Directed Learning
Assessment Items
Essays / Written Assignments
Group/tutorial participation and contribution
Contact HoursSelf Directed Learning: for 6 hour(s) per Week for 12 weeks
Email Discussion Group: for 2 hour(s) per Week for 12 weeks
Compulsory Components
Requisite by EnrolmentMaster of Nursing (Advanced Practice) - 11383
Master of Nursing (Nurse Practioner) - 11682
Master of Midwifery Studies - 10973
Timetables2014 Course Timetables for NURS6591