Maria Oliveri, a Morningside mum and researcher, will help pioneer an Australian-first midwifery care model when she gives birth to her third child this October.
Oliveri, 33, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes after her first pregnancy, will receive care through Mater Mothers’ Hospital’s new Obstetric Midwifery Group Practice (OMGP).
The innovative OMGP offers a hybrid of traditional midwifery care with added obstetric support for pregnant women with diabetes like Oliveri. It is the first program of its kind in Australia.
Developed by Mater’s leading clinicians and researchers, the OMGP model will provide Oliveri and other diabetic mothers specialised care throughout pregnancy and birth. By merging midwifery-led care with obstetric oversight, mothers can experience a pregnancy guided by midwives with the safety net of obstetric interventions as needed.
“My first pregnancy was low risk and I felt so empowered as the care focused on my pregnancy and my baby,” she said.
“My second pregnancy was very different. I felt my Type 1 diabetes was the focus of my pregnancy. I had to explain my situation to a different doctor each and every time.
She admitted that her second pregnancy was frustrating at times, and she did not experience the same joy she had felt during her first pregnancy. Having previously worked as a midwife in a midwifery group practice herself, the Morningside mum believes Mater’s new model will provide mothers with the consistent care they need and deserve.
According to Mater Associate Professor Shelley Wilkinson, traditional Midwifery Group Practices provide excellent outcomes and continuity of care for low-risk women and babies during pregnancy.
“Midwifery Group Practices are a brilliant, evidence-based model of care in which low-risk women are allocated a primary midwife who provides their care throughout their pregnancy, labour, birth and postnatal period,” Associate Professor Wilkinson said.
Mater researchers first gathered 9 months of baseline data from women in the current standard care model. Now they will analyse these findings to shape the Obstetric Midwifery Group Practice pilot program, launching later this year.
Dr Jo Laurie, Mater Mothers’ Hospital Director of Obstetric Medicine, said eligible women will be offered enrollment in the Obstetric Midwifery Group Practice program when they initially book their prenatal care appointments.
Dr Laurie explained that in the new model, a dedicated midwife will provide comprehensive care by joining the mother at appointments with her full treating team, including obstetricians and physicians. This wraparound approach ensures seamless coordination.
“We believe that this will create a better journey for women. And by having the same skilled midwives caring for these more complex women during labour, it will hopefully keep these babies out of the special care nursery and with their mums for that precious early bonding time,” Dr Laurie said.