Hidden Healthcare: Immersed in the pregnancy journey

Friday, December 27, 2019 birthingparentwomen's health
Hidden Healthcare: Immersed in the pregnancy journey Rachel is one of eight Mamta midwives working at Bendigo Health. Mamta midwives care for pregnant women from 20-25 weeks up until a week after birth.
Hidden Healthcare takes a look behind the scenes at some of the people powering regional Victoria's largest hospital.

In times of stress and uncertainty, a familiar face can make all the difference.

Mamta midwife Rachel Allitt has been that familiar face for countless women and their partners over the past couple of years.

Mamta is an Indian word for ‘a mother’s love for her child’.

Mamta midwives at Bendigo Health provide a continuum of care for pregnant women from 20-25 weeks up until a week after birth, allowing the clinicians to develop relationships with women and their partners.

“Building those connections makes people feel more relaxed and safe and women are more likely to labour better if they feel safe and secure,” Rachel said.

She recalls one instance of a woman who previously had a traumatic birth and, as such, had heightened anxiety for her upcoming birth.

“After her second birth the women said maybe she’ll have another child. To be part of that healing process was special,” she said.

First-time parents are also some of the clients Mamta midwives see.

Navigating the system can be overwhelming for first-time expectant parents, which highlights the importance of the Mamta program, Rachel said.

“The continuity of care - they call it the gold standard of midwifery - is important as you’re following women through their journey, helping ease their anxieties,” she said.

“Their care isn’t fragment - you know what’s going on with them so there’s no risk of losing them in the system.”

And while the care provided isn’t fragmented, the same can’t be said for the routine of a Mamta midwife.

With most babies either arriving, or beginning to arrive at night, early morning phone calls are the norm for Rachel, who is on call for 24-hours nine days a fortnight. 

“You’ve certainly got to be flexible and passionate because it’s such a varied schedule,” she said.

Rachel is one of eight Mamta midwives working at Bendigo Health. They work in teams of two and larger teams of four to cover each other’s clients.

Mamta midwives have to have at least three years midwifery experience due to the independent nature of their work.

Bendigo Health accepts applications for the Mamta program for people living within 25 kilometres of Bendigo for pregnancies classified as low risk.

Rachel said due to the popularity of the program, around half of the applicants are generally successful.

In order to make other women who are not on the Mamta program feel more comfortable and relaxed in the hospital setting, Bendigo Health rotates staff throughout the variety of women’s services to familiarise pregnant women with various team members.

Bendigo Health also has a variety of models of care to suit particular women, including post-birth care, as part of its broader women's health service.

For more information, visit our women's and children's services page.