After graduating at the end of 2022, Kira now works as a caseload midwife at Townsville University Hospital — a role she pursued through every avenue available to her.
“There are many options for midwifery, particularly in Townsville, but I always knew I wanted to do caseload midwifery,” Kira says. “As a caseload midwife, I work in a team with other caseload midwives and we each have our own clients. Within our caseloads are four women who are due per month, and we are their main care provider. We provide antenatal care visits, we’re on-call for their birth, and then we provide six weeks of care in their home. It's essentially having a known care provider for your whole pregnancy journey.
“Because I always wanted to do continuity of care, I did a lot of continuity of care experiences through my JCU placements with as many caseload midwives as I could. That included Midwifery Group Practice (MGP) midwives and the birth centre midwives. I basically tried to make myself known so that when it came to interviewing, it was already clear that I truly wanted to work in that area and with those midwives.”
Kira’s passion for caseload midwifery and continuity of care stems from the value of perinatal care and the benefits mothers receive from having a caseload midwife support them for the length of their pregnancy, birth and newborn stage.
“From an evidence point of view, the International Confederation of Midwives and the Australian College of Midwives support continuity of care for all women as the gold standard of care,” Kira says. "There’s a lot of research to support the benefits of continuity of care — it decreases the likelihood of a having a pre-term birth or still birth, it increases maternal satisfaction, you’re more likely to have a vaginal birth and so much more.”
Other benefits include increasing safety during labour and birth, helping midwives avoid burnout and increase job satisfaction, cost benefits for the health system, and supporting women’s rights to self-determination in terms of choice, control and education during pregnancy.
“From a research and evidence point of view, I’m really passionate about continuity of care,” Kira says. “But also, from my experience as a midwifery student, it’s so gratifying for us as midwives and for the women we care for. It’s an intimate time in a woman’s life, and it can sometimes be a scary time for a woman. You’re so much more comfortable with someone that you know. The relationship you build with your midwife makes all the difference.
“And for us as midwives, it’s really lovely. I feel like I’m playing a really important part in someone’s pregnancy, birth and post-partum journey. I met them when they were only 20 weeks, and now they’re six weeks post-partum and I don’t really want to say goodbye. So, that’s why I really enjoy this role and the continuity of care we provide.”