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Midwifery Challenges - CPD Conference

  • : Brisbane City QLD 4000

Modern midwifery is increasingly demanding. Rapid social changes and new evidence are affecting the way that midwives practice. Attend this program to explore some of these challenges. Includes:

  • High risk pregnancies
  • Substance abuse and pregnancy
  • The legal status of unborn child
  • Maternal depression and medicines
  • Neonatal abstinence syndrome
  • Self care for midwives
  • The booming breast milk market and much, much more...

 Print Schedule

Day One



Dr Ben Kroon

From Fertility Challenges to Pregnancy…

Parents who have had a difficult time conceiving or have a condition affecting fertility may experience a complex pregnancy. When a history of these difficulties are present, the ability to become pregnant is difficult and surgical or lifestyle interventions may need to be introduced. Not only must these changes happen, but the pregnancy experience may be fraught with anxiety and increased follow-up appointments. This session will look at the range of complexities and challenges faced by women and men who have a fertility issue and are either trying to have a baby or are currently pregnant. Includes:

  • What conditions affect fertility?
  • What assessments are in place?
  • What education should a family be given?
  • If proceeding with the assistance of IVF, does this change any processes e.g. the effects on the body and labour?
  • Complications and changes - what do midwives need to do differently in their care e.g. physical and emotional impacts of IVF on pregnant women


Barbara Soong

High Risk Pregnancies

There are a range of reasons which may contribute to a pregnancy being ‘high-risk’ which impacts on how the pregnancy is managed with a multidisciplinary team, as the outcome for the mother and/or baby may be affected. Midwives must have sound knowledge to identify:

  • What is high risk? What is deemed a ‘high-risk’ pregnancy?
  • Are certain groups of women more at risk?
  • Are there any evidence-based Guidelines for the management and follow up of mothers deemed ‘high-risk’?
  • The role of the Midwife and MDT in case managing an at risk pregnancy to achieve an optimal outcome



Bronwyn Jest

Physiotherapy During Pregnancy - Prenatal Physiotherapy

Many women suffer from pelvic and back pain during the prenatal period and it is well known that the management of symptoms can be improved through the support of a physiotherapist. This session will discuss the promotion of physiotherapy in prenatal women and how midwives can help support this model of care. Topics include:

  • How to deal with pregnancy-related pain e.g. back and pelvic pain
  • What is Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) and how is it treated?
  • Relaxin hormone - how can this affect the muscles and cause issues?
  • Labour preparation and the role of physiotherapy
  • How to assess when you should be referring a woman to a physiotherapist?


Professor Joan Webster

Negative Pressure Wound Therapy and Surgical Site Infections Post Caesarean Sections

Surgical site infections (SSI’s) are a potential complication associated with undergoing a caesarean section. Current research is looking at the effect of Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT), also known as vacuum assisted closure (VAC) on surgical site infections (SSI’s) in women undergoing elective caesarean sections, with a BMI of 30 or higher. This session reviews what is currently known about the following:

  • What are the risk factors for surgical site infections and wound dehiscence?
  • How can these risk factors be minimised?
  • What is known currently about the effect of NPWT on SSI rates?
  • An update results of the DRESSING trial pilot study and how future research may be translated to practice


Heather Harris

Back to Basics - How to Teach Breastfeeding

As midwives there is much to understand and know when supporting a mother who is breastfeeding her baby. In the twenty-first century there are many differing opinions and advice may change from midwife to midwife. This session will highlight the importance of understanding the basics of breastfeeding, why it is imperative that the correct techniques are being taught and how a mother’s needs can be simply met by healthcare providers. Topics include:

  • What are the basics of breastfeeding?
  • What is ‘SYPNCY’ and how should you apply this to enhancing breastfeeding?
  • What are practical tips to help a midwife support a mother through the learning to breastfeed stage?



Heather Harris

Not Another Lactation Lecture!

Over time, the mantra of ‘breast is best” has evolved. But as midwives, do we take into account the struggles that some women may face in pursuit of this goal? What do midwives need in order to meet the early challenges, particularly in the hospital setting? Some mothers describe being tormented by the pressures to breastfeed. This idea that “breast is best” circulates within parenting groups and maternity units and can ignite feelings of anxiety in mothers who are finding breastfeeding traumatic. Modern mothers face the often competing pressures of desiring the give their baby the very best nutritional start, whilst also attempting to meet the clinical feeding requirements demanded by hospital protocols. This can result in significant stresses. This session will discuss the midwife’s role in supporting a mother who is struggling to breastfeed. Discussion includes:

  • "Breast is best" should be replaced by “potential risks of no breast milk feeding"
  • If breast is really best how can we help mitigate the early maternal emotional stress so common among new mothers?
  • What effect does conflicting advice have on mothers, staff and breastfeeding success?
  • Developing supportive and non-judgmental skills for the mother who" cannot" breastfeed or are experiencing undersupply
  • How can we better educate and support mothers who may need to make different choices?



Hugh Carter

The Legal Status of the Unborn Child

There is much debate about the viability, health and ethical situation of unborn children. Midwives may become involved in such considerations and it is advisable to have thought through some of the dilemmas. Includes discussion on:

  • Definition of life and rights of the unborn child
  • Should a midwife intervene if a mother is drinking to excess during pregnancy?
  • Can a mother be sued for damage to her foetus caused by maternal neglect?


Day Two



Rachael Ramsay

Substance Use in Pregnancy

Substance use is a common concern shared by midwives caring for drug affected mothers. The use of alcohol, illicit drugs and psychoactive substances during pregnancy can lead to multiple health and social problems for both a mother and baby. This session will discuss the effects of drug use in mothers, the assessment skills needed to best improve outcomes and the management of a newborn. Topics include:

  • What defines a drug?
  • What are the different drug categories, classifications and which have effects on the brain?
  • What assessment skills do midwives need?
  • What are the implications of continued drug use?
  • What are the effects of Alcohol in pregnancy?
  • Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome - assessment and treatment
  • CHAMP Service
  • Case study


Karen-Ann Clarke

Drugs, Alcohol and Motherhood

Mothers who currently are or have previously used alcohol, tobacco and other drugs during pregnancy often report negative experiences when receiving care from a health care facility. When a woman who has an addiction is viewed in a judgemental manner the effects can be detrimental, resulting in rejection of the care and support offered. This can create a distance between the midwife and mother throughout the pregnancy, with terrible ramifications to follow. It is important as caregivers to deliver honest, open and non-judgemental care to improve outcomes for these mothers. This open and honest session will challenge you to consider and discuss the following:

  • Are we actually providing non-judgemental care?
  • Why is it important for caregivers to understand the state of change?
  • How do we support women with addictions to tobacco, alcohol and cannabis?
  • Finding the time to provide practical harm minimisation education to women
  • What is the importance of motivational interviewing?



Dr Treasure McGuire

Maternal Depression and Medications

Maternal depression can have a harmful and enduring impact on an infant and of course affect a mother, her partner and family. A careful and balanced assessment must consider the consequences of untreated depression against potential foetal or child health risks. This session will include:

  • What is the impact of maternal depression?
  • Basic pharmacotherapy review of common antidepressant and antianxiety medications
  • Which of these medicines are safe during pregnancy?
  • What about during breast-feeding?
  • If there is a potential harm to the baby, when does treatment of the mother's’ mental health override this?


Dr Treasure McGuire

A Case Study of What Not to DO

This short session will draw on clinical examples and Coroner’s cases to consider how poorly managed mental illness in the postpartum period can have devastating consequences for all involved.



Heather Harris

Liquid Gold? - The Booming Breast Milk Market

In today's world of technology the ability to access donated breast-milk is becoming increasingly common. There are now websites committed to buying, selling and donating breast-milk. How might this type of transaction work in the real world of midwifery? Is this a positive change to be encouraged or is there room for potential error? This session will discuss the growth of the breast-milk market that isn’t always traditional. Includes:

  • Is there a screening process to donate breast-milk?
  • Are there ethical considerations we need to be mindful of?
  • Is this something we should be supporting and promoting within Australia?
  • Historically, breast-feeding by someone other than the mother has been common; only since the twentieth century has formula-feeding been "safe" enough to be used widely. What has caused many to reject formula in favour of donated human milk?
  • What is the role of Milk Banks?


Pauline McGrath

Genetic Counselling

In today’s world of technology the opportunity to request genetic testing is at most parents’ fingertips. In this modern world there is a need for the critical role of delivering education in regards to certain conditions, discussing options for prenatal screening or genetic testing, discussing assisted reproduction and providing clear medical information to help families make informed choices. Topics include:

  • What education does a genetic counsellor deliver and what is involved?
  • Mapping the family - the use of venograms
  • How can midwives help families access support from a genetic counsellor?



Dean King

Self-Care, Shift Work and Midwifery

Working shift work can be stressful, fast-paced, demanding and often leaves midwives feeling isolated and exhausted. Looking after our patients who are often stressed and anxious means midwives must be given tools to promote their own emotional health. How can we start and finish each shift feeling renewed and energised? This final and practical session will introduce three techniques that can reduce stress and anxiety so we can be the best version of ourselves when working shift work. We will look at:

  • Does our thinking contribute to our stress?
  • Will understanding our values and beliefs make us feel different?
  • How can resilience be developed in the face of challenges?


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 increasingly complex and 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

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

Provide midwifery care that is mindful of personal safety for yourself, a mother and her baby


Heather Harris

Heather Harris

Heather Harris (BN Deakin, MMid LaTrobe) first qualified as a midwife in 1970 and has worked in all areas of ... Read More

Ben Kroon

Ben Kroon

Ben is a Brisbane based obstetrician and gynaecologist with a subspecialty in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. He is clinical ... Read More

Rachael  Ramsay

Rachael Ramsay

Rachael Ramsay is a Clinical Midwifery Consultant, Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs in Pregnancy and CHAMP service co-ordinator. She graduated ... Read More

Bronwyn Jest

Bronwyn Jest

Bronwyn Jest is a Brisbane physiotherapist with a particular interest in Continence and Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation. She graduated from the ... Read More

Odette Tewfik

Odette Tewfik

Odette Tewfik has more than 23 years’ experience as a champion for social welfare in Queensland, working long voluntary hours ... Read More

Karen-Ann Clarke

Karen-Ann Clarke

Karen-Ann Clarke is a Registered General and Mental Health Nurse. She has a Master's degree in Mental Health Nursing and ... Read More

Treasure McGuire

Treasure McGuire

Dr Treasure McGuire is a medicines information pharmacist, pharmacologist, educator and researcher. As Assistant Director of Pharmacy, Mater Health Services, ... Read More

Pauline  McGrath

Pauline McGrath

Pauline McGrath is a Human Genetics Society of Australasia Certified Genetic Counsellor. Pauline established Australia’s first Metabolic Nurse Co-ordinator role ... Read More

Dean King

Dean King

Dean King is a highly qualified healthcare professional with over 28 years of industry experience. He specialises in communication engagement ... Read More

Barbara Soong

Barbara Soong

Barbara Soong is a Clinical Midwifery Consultant and Midwifery Unit Manager of the Maternal Fetal Medicine unit art Mater Mothers ... Read More

Hugh Carter

Hugh Carter

Barrister at Law and Lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology, Hugh has a special interest and expertise in human ... Read More

Joan Webster

Joan Webster

Professor Joan Webster is the Nursing Director for Research at the RBWH. She also holds Professorial appointments with the Schools ... Read More

Midwifery Challenges - CPD Conference
Speciality Classification
Provider Type
12 hours
Start Date
End Date
12 hours
Price Details
$572.00 (two days)
Brisbane City QLD 4000
Brisbane Mercure Hotel Brisbane, 85-87 North Quay
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