Women Central Care

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Woman - centred care is the overarching framework for the National Competency Standards for the Midwife (2006). Woman-centred care is a concept that implies that midwifery care: * is focused on the woman's individual, unique needs, expectations and aspirations, rather than the needs of institutions or professions * recognises the woman's right to self determination in terms of choice, control, and continuity of care * encompasses the needs of the baby, the woman's family, significant others and community, as identified and negotiated by the woman herself * follows the woman between institutions and the community, through all phases of pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period * is 'holistic'- addresses the woman's social emotional, physical, psychological, spiritual and cultural needs and expectations ANMC, 2006

As the woman is the centre of midwifery care this section will focus on the woman and where women fit in to Australian society. We will also explore working with different groups of women, in particular Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

WOMEN IN AUSTRALIAN SOCIETY
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There is a huge spectrum of considerations that we could address in looking at women in Australian society – too much for one week of study – so the intention has been to provide varying aspects for you to think about while recognising that understanding about the place of all women in Australia will require your continuing attention as a midwife, if you are to be woman centred in your practice. Getting started

Let’s start by looking at you as women. As midwives we regard all women as special – sometimes their lives may not seem to show this but they are all unique human beings and it should be part of our privilege in working with them to help them find the ‘specialness of themselves’ to enable them to know that they can be important in their critical roles as mothers who are strong women.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· What are your special attributes?<!--[endif]--> <!--[if !supportLists]-->· What makes you a unique and special woman?<!--[endif]--> <!--[if !supportLists]-->· What do you enjoy about being a unique and special woman?<!--[endif]--> <!--[if !supportLists]-->· What does being a woman in Australian society mean for you?<!--[endif]--> Keep your own thoughts about what is special about being a woman in mind when you work with pregnant woman whose lives may be challenged, discriminated against or harmed because of –

<!--[if !supportLists]-->§ where they live <!--[endif]--> <!--[if !supportLists]-->§ who their family is <!--[endif]--> <!--[if !supportLists]-->§ what their religion is <!--[endif]--> <!--[if !supportLists]-->§ what their age is <!--[endif]--> <!--[if !supportLists]-->§ what their culture is<!--[endif]--> <!--[if !supportLists]-->§ choices they have made<!--[endif]--> <!--[if !supportLists]-->§ lifestyles they follow<!--[endif]--> <!--[if !supportLists]-->§ influences they have succumbed to.<!--[endif]-->

When they are pregnant and they come to us as midwives it is our responsibility to work WITH WOMEN to gain their trust and support them to move towards strengths not limitations, to believe in themselves and their abilities. If we are to truly work 'with women' we need to find out what women want and what their needs are. This is part of the initial visit between the woman and the midwife. We need to build up a database of other races/cultures beliefs etc and at the same time we should not expect the beliefs and behaviors of individuals to always reflect the general cultural beliefs of their race.The following reading explores the experiences of Asian women birthing in Tasmania and demonstrates the importance of knowing the beliefs and meanings of other...
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