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Midwifery Challenges - CPD Conference

  • : Melbourne VIC 3000

Modern midwifery is increasingly demanding. Rapid social changes and new evidence are affecting the way that midwives practice. Attend this annual Ausmed Education event to explore some of these challenges. Take time out to network with like-minded colleagues. Learn about:

  • The neonatal gut microbiome
  • Perineal wound infections - applying evidence to practice
  • Recognising and responding to neonatal sepsis
  • Pumps, cups, syringes and fingers - a look at alternative feeding techniques
  • The secret life of serotonin and much, much more...
Schedule Day One



Introduction to Conference


Acknowledgement of Country


Samantha Dawson

The Neonatal Gut Microbiome

Scientific evolution in the field of genomics has resulted in huge gains in knowledge about the human microbiome. In particular, evidence now reveals the relationship between early establishment of the neonatal gut microbiome and long-term immune and metabolic health. This introductory session will explain what helps and what hinders the development of this gut microbiome. It includes:

  • When does the neonatal gut microbiome begin to develop?
  • How does early acquisition occur – from in uteroonwards?
  • What interrupts the assembly of the neonatal gut microbiome?
  • How might this affect long-term health?
  • What restores it – a look at the evidence?
  • What does this mean for midwifery practice?


Deborah Mellett

First 1000 Days – An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Perspective

The early period of child development, from preconception to aged two is known to lay the foundations for life. First 1000 Days Australia recognises the significant opportunity that this period offers to strengthen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. This session introduces the First 1000 Days Australia movement, and its holistic aims, and explains why family remains the preferred place for change to occur. It includes:

  • A window of opportunity – why 1000 days?
  • How does First 1000 Days Australia strengthen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families?



Rodney Whyte

Preconception Prescribing and Planning - Myths and Facts of Prenatal Vitamins

Evidence for supplementing key nutrients including folic acid and iron during pregnancy is strong and well known. However, a plethora of specialist formulas for the prenatal, pregnancy and postnatal periods are now available. How can midwives promote a consistent, evidenced and non-biased approach to supplementation during pregnancy? This session looks at some myths and realities surrounding the use of prenatal vitamins, other nutritional supplements and complementary therapies. Includes:

  • A review of the key micronutrient requirements when planning to conceive, and their influence on maternal and fetal health
  • An overview of the recent changes made to the NHMRC Clinical Practice Guidelines on Antenatal Care
  • A look at the evidence for special supplements, herbal medicines and other complementary medicines



Catherine Wallace-Wilkinson

Health Coaching & Pregnancy – Practical Approaches to Changing Behaviour

Good nutrition and appropriate exercise are cornerstones to optimal mother and baby outcomes, especially in situations when conditions like gestational diabetes or high mother BMI are present. This almost always relies on some degree of behaviour change. Think back on a change you have had to make to your own lifestyle. How challenging was this? Practical approaches to achieving elusive behaviour change are essential. Understanding barriers to change and how to overcome these can greatly assist midwives to coach, guide, and support healthy outcomes. This session looks at:

  • Why do some people resist change?
  • How can we understand what might motivate a mother to change behaviour?
  • Simple, practical solutions to overcoming common barriers to change such as:
    • Time
    • Money
    • Other people
    • Motivation
    • Energy
    • Confidence


Dr Sally Bell and Dr Emma Flanagan

Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Pregnancy

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) refers to lifelong chronic conditions that affect the digestive tract, of which Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are most common. Women with IBD who are considering pregnancy or who may be pregnant require specialised support and care. As the prevalence of IBD in Australia is one of the highest in the world and is increasing, midwives are likely to care for women with IBD. This session provides a comprehensive review of the care for a woman with IBD across the perinatal period. It explores:

  • What is IBD?
  • Is fertility affected by IBD?
  • What preconception counselling is required?
  • What are common pregnancy-related IBD issues?
  • Is there a relationship between IBD, pregnancy, low birth weight, and premature delivery?
  • Does IBD impact the type of delivery a woman might have?
  • Are there considerations for postnatal care, including breastfeeding?



Professor Roger Byard

SIDS, Shared and Prone Sleeping and Science

Recent research from South Australia has investigated the connection between the neurotransmitters serotonin, neuropeptide substance P, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). How can a better understanding of the causes of SIDS be translated into practice? In particular, what education can care providers take away to build awareness and educate parents and families? This final session of day one discusses:

  • What did we previously know about what causes SIDS?
  • What are serotonin and substance P and how are they linked to SIDS?
  • What is the evidence that cot sleepers are different from alone sleepers?
  • Why are babies who sleep face down at increased risk of death?
  • How can this evidence be translated into better education, awareness, and prevention?


Day Two



Dr Briony Cutts

Amniotic Fluid Embolism – A Coordinated Response to Care

Amniotic fluid embolism (AFE) is a rare and unexpected cause of maternal death, but it remains the leading cause of maternal mortality in Australasia. This session will discuss the latest evidence and best-practice management of this complication, including:

  • What are the current gaps in knowledge around AFE?
  • What are the risk factors?
  • Is there a link between AFE and assisted reproductive technologies?
  • What are the immediate signs and symptoms?
  • What is the best practice management of AFE?
  • Summary – What are the key messages for perinatal outcomes?


Dr Zoe McQuilten

Management of Major Obstetric Haemorrhage

Preventing mortality associated with primary postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) is dependant on impeccable assessment skills that detect early signs of shock. If a woman’s condition deteriorates further and a major obstetric haemorrhage occurs then additional measures will be required in response to the critical bleeding. This session focuses on the rationale behind the multidisciplinary response to a major obstetric haemorrhage. It includes:

  • What are the clinical signs and symptoms of shock in primary PPH?
  • How do these escalate in a major obstetric haemorrhage?
  • When should a massive blood transfusion policy be triggered?
  • What are the rationales for the multidisciplinary management of major obstetric haemorrhage?
  • A review of key blood and blood products used in the management of critical bleeding



Catherine Fox

Recognising and Responding Early to Neonatal Sepsis

While still relatively uncommon, early-onset Group B streptococcus (GBS) is the most common cause of neonatal sepsis. In most cases of early-onset GBS, signs and symptoms of neonatal sepsis were present in the first six hours. In almost all cases, these signs and symptoms were present in the first 24 hours. The consequences of delayed or untreated sepsis are fatal. As such, all midwives must feel confident in the following:

  • What are the most common causes of early-onset neonatal sepsis?
  • How does this differ to late-onset neonatal sepsis?
  • What are the risk factors for early and late-onset neonatal sepsis?
  • How should the signs and symptoms of neonatal sepsis be assessed?
  • When is escalation of care required?
  • A review of the management of neonatal sepsis – investigations, antibiotic therapy, and other considerations


Dr Nicole Highet

Postnatal Psychosis – A Preventative Approach

In a small group of women, giving birth can trigger postnatal, postpartum, or puerperal psychosis. Accompanied by a mood disorder, distressing hallucinations, delusions, and severe thought disturbance, postnatal psychosis poses a severe risk for a mother and baby. Without recognition and treatment, symptoms can lead to fatal consequences. This session looks at this incredibly challenging issue for mothers and how midwives can assist. It includes tips for providing support and looks at:

  • What are the risk factors?
  • What are the most successful preventative interventions?
  • What are the subtle signs that might suggest a woman is experiencing or about to experience postnatal psychosis?
  • What are the immediate and proceeding treatments?



Melinda Brooks

Perineal Wound Healing – What Works?

Perineal wounds are common in most women following childbirth, and it goes without saying that this increases with assisted delivery. Midwives play a key role in assessing and preventing infections and, importantly, providing support and education for new mothers. This session will ensure that the next time a mother asks, you can confidently answer the question “what helps a wound heal?”. It includes:

  • What should be assessed in a perineal wound?
  • How would you know if a perineal wound is becoming infected?
  • What cleansing techniques, products, dressings, lifestyle, and hygiene advice should be given?
  • How do we assess if a particular therapy is effective?
  • What types of nutrition can assist with tissue remodelling?


Heather Harris

Pumps, Cups, Syringes and Fingers – Alternative Feeding Techniques

Feeding techniques other than breastfeeding may be required when feeding directly from the breast is not an option. This session will weigh up the indications, advantages, disadvantages, and practicalities of the following alternative feeding methods, including:

  • Cup feeding, spoons, and syringes – how to do it safely
  • Finger feeding
  • Tubes, aids, and devices – SNS line, Haberman Feeder, Calma teat
  • Bottle feeding a breastfed baby – paced feeding and nipple “confusion”
  • Pumps – “Hands On” pumping, Haakaa bottle



Heather Harris

The Ultimate Challenge? Feeding Through Mastitis

Mastitis is painful, debilitating, and has a negative impact on maternal health, breastfeeding, and milk supply. Yet, approximately one in five lactating women will experience mastitis at some time during their lactation. This session practically explains an evidence-based approach to prevention and management. It includes:

  • Are antibiotics always necessary and, if so, which is optimal for mastitis?
  • What feeding techniques and habits may prevent mastitis?
  • How can you assess the cause of mastitis?
  • How can feeding through mastitis be promoted and achieved?
  • What supportive care and extra education is required?
  • What is the emerging evidence for probiotic therapy?


The Goal Need for Program

In recent years, birthing has increased in Australia. It is inevitable that there are gaps in the knowledge of many midwives in relation to latest research and the emerging issues that face them in the current practice setting. The context in which midwives practice is becoming increasingly complex, making demands on the ever-expanding scope of practice. The link between education and the provision of quality care to mothers and their babies is indisputable. A broad range of education relating to contemporary midwifery practice will assist in closing gaps in knowledge and practice.

Purpose of Program

This conference provides a broad range of education relevant to midwifery practice that will enhance the provision of quality care to mothers and babies.

Your learning outcomes:

Apply evidence-based knowledge about several clinical aspects of midwifery care, including breastfeeding, which will improve the health and safety of mother and baby

Monitor the mother and baby during the perinatal period, taking into consideration conditions that impact on best possible outcomes

Provide compassionate care to a woman who has challenges associated with the perinatal experience

Optimise interprofessional collaboration to enhance mother and baby outcomes


Catherine Wallace-Wilkinson

Catherine Wallace-Wilkinson

Catherine Wallace-Wilkinson is a Registered Nurse and has been a Credentialled Diabetes Educator since 2000. She has a demonstrated commitment ... Read More

Sally Bell

Sally Bell

Dr Sally Bell is a gastroenterologist, Department of Gastroenterology, St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria. ... Read More

Emma Flanagan

Emma Flanagan

Dr Emma Flanagan is a gastroenterologist at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne and is working with Associate Professor Sally Bell ...Read More

Heather Harris

Heather Harris

Heather Harris first qualified as a midwife in 1970 and has worked in all areas of midwifery practice over the ... Read More

Briony Cutts

Briony Cutts

Briony is a specialist physician with expertise and interest in helping women with general medical issues in pregnancy as well ... Read More

Zoe McQuilten

Zoe McQuilten

Dr Zoe McQuilten is a consultant haematologist at Monash Health and a NHMRC Early Career Fellow at Monash University. She ... Read More

Nicole Highet

Nicole Highet

Dr Nicole Highet is the founder and executive director of COPE: Centre of Perinatal Excellence. Nicole has a background in ...Read More

Melinda Brooks

Melinda Brooks

Melinda Brooks has worked in wound management for more than 20 years in a variety of settings, from the Victorian ... Read More

Deborah Mellett

Deborah Mellett

Deborah Mellett is a Gurindji woman who also has family ties to the Jawoyn people in the Northern Territory. Deb ... Read More

Roger Byard

Roger Byard

Professor Roger Byard AO PSM holds the George Richard Marks Chair of Pathology at The University of Adelaide and is ... Read More

Samantha Dawson

Samantha Dawson

Samantha Dawson is a doctoral student supervised by Professor Felice Jacka from Deakin’s Food and Mood Centre, based at the ... Read More

Catherine Fox

Catherine Fox

Catherine Fox is a Retrieval Clinician - Neonatal Nurse Practitioner with PIPER - Paediatric, Infant, Perinatal Emergency Retrieval. ... Read More

Rodney Whyte

Rodney Whyte

Rodney Whyte has a background of over 30 years of practice in hospital and community pharmacy, much of which has ... Read More

Midwifery Challenges - CPD Conference
Speciality Classification
Interest Areas / Topics Covered
Provider Type
11 hours
Start Date
End Date
11 hours
Price Details
$590.00 (two days)
Melbourne VIC 3000
Melbourne Oaks on Market, 60 Market St
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