The profile of women who consult midwives in Australia

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Journal Article
Women and Birth, 2013, 26 (4), pp. 240 - 245
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Background: There is no Australian data on the characteristics of women who consult with midwives. Aim: To determine the profile of women who consult midwives in Australia. Methods: This cross-sectional research was conducted as part of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health (ALSWH). Participants were the younger (31-36 years) cohort of the ALSWH who completed a survey in 2009, and indicated that they were currently pregnant (n= 801). The main outcome measure was consultation with a midwife. Findings: Of the 801 women who indicated that they were currently pregnant at the time of the survey, 19%, 42%, and 70% of women in the first, second and third trimesters respectively had consulted with a midwife. Women were more likely to consult a midwife if they: also consulted with a hospital doctor (OR = 2.70, 95% CI: 1.66, 4.40); also consulted with a complementary and alternative medicine practitioner (OR = 1.94, 95% CI: 1.25, 3.03); were depressed (OR = 1.84, 95% CI: 1.03, 3.28); constipated (OR = 1.80, 95% CI: 1.04, 3.13); or had been diagnosed or treated for hypertension during pregnancy (OR = 2.78, 95% CI: 1.27, 6.09). Women were less likely (OR = 0.34, 95% CI: 0.21, 0.56) to consult with a midwife if they had private health insurance. Conclusion: Women were more likely to consult with midwives in conjunction with consultations with hospital doctors or complementary and alternative medicine practitioners. Women with private health insurance were less likely to consult midwives. More research is necessary to determine the implications of the lack of midwifery care for these women. © 2013 Australian College of Midwives.
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