Your Guide to the Shared Care Program

Pregnancy is an exciting event in any woman's life and the way low-risk women in Australia receive their care is changing. Under the share care program, you no longer have to see an obstetrician for the bulk of your antenatal care. Instead, you can enjoy a consistent and more flexible program spearheaded by your GP and midwife, allowing for more convenient maternity care.

What is antenatal shared care and do I qualify?

Many women are familiar with having an obstetrician lead their antenatal care. However, for low-risk pregnancies, this isn't really necessary. In countries such as the UK, university-qualified midwives lead a pregnant woman's care alongside their general practitioner and call for the intervention of specialist medical professionals if necessary. The share care program employs the use of a private midwife who can provide safe antenatal care and if you're not looking at a high-risk pregnancy, you can see if it's available in your area.

What are the benefits of share care?

During the course of your pregnancy, you'll attend a multitude of dating appointments, scans, and clinics. Outside of these appointments, you may want to make contact with the professional leading your care to alleviate your concerns. When your GP and a private midwife lead your care, you benefit from a professional who is familiar with you and your family, as well as one who specialises in healthy pregnancies. This confers the following benefits:

  • Consistent care with someone who's familiar with your pregnancy goals and concerns
  • Postnatal checks and breastfeeding support from the same midwife and/or GP
  • More flexible appointments, making it easier to carry on with other aspects of your life
  • Appointments in a relaxed environment
  • Your GP will care for you and your baby from conception through to their childhood years

What if the GP or midwife need support?

Like programs that use midwife-led care in other countries, the share care program allows GPs and midwives to call on an obstetrician should they have any concerns. In addition, neither takes charge when delivering your baby. This can take place in a unit where midwives and obstetricians who have lots of experience in delivering babies work, which means you receive the most appropriate type of care at this stage of your pregnancy. 

If you want to know more about this program, consider discussing it with your GP. If they feel as though your pregnancy is low-risk and your family can benefit, they'll make a referral.