NURS 7051 Complex Midwifery Care

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 401350

Coordinator Leanne Luck Opens in new window

Description This subject provides students with knowledge of complex conditions that may arise during pregnancy, labour, birth and the postnatal period for the woman or her newborn/s. Emphasis will be placed on the biological and physiological aspects of these conditions. In addition, issues surrounding infertility and reproductive technologies, and contemporary issues that impact women, such as pre-existing medical conditions and mental health, will be explored. The subject integrates physiological, psychosocial and cultural aspects relating to a woman experiencing a complex pregnancy, labour, birth or post birth period. The role of the midwife in maintaining partnerships with women, even when childbearing experiences are complex, will be discussed and critically analysed. Students will also critically analyse key ethical and legal aspects affecting midwifery and maternity care.

School Nursing & Midwifery

Discipline Midwifery

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 1 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Postgraduate Coursework Level 7 subject

Pre-requisite(s) NURS 7053 AND
NURS 7054

Co-requisite(s) NURS 7052

Equivalent Subjects NURS 7017 Complex Care


Students must be enrolled in 4775 Graduate Diploma in Midwifery and be a registered nurse employed in a participating NSW Health Local Health District facility or a private hospital in the position of a midwifery student.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. Critically reflect on and discuss legal and ethical aspects and responsibilities of the midwife which affect midwifery and/or maternity care including collaborative health care relationships between midwives and others in complex situations including choices around infertility and reproductive technologies
  2. Apply knowledge of the normal biological, physiological, psychological and social processes of pregnancy, labour, birth, the postnatal period and the newborn to identify and explain deviations from normal to ensure early consultation or referral to appropriate members of the health care team
  3. Explore and identify risk factors and instigate measures to minimise adverse outcomes for women with pre-existing conditions and their newborns
  4. Critically analyse care for a woman experiencing an unanticipated pregnancy outcome
  5. Demonstrate appropriate application of knowledge around social determinants of health particularly in regard to marginalised women and those with perinatal mental health needs
  6. Critically discuss seminal and current theories related to attachment and perinatal mental health and the implications for practice
  7. Critically evaluate midwifery care to reduce morbidity and mortality rates for women with an emphasis on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and Culturally and Linguistically diverse (CALD) women

Subject Content

1. Infertility
a. Assisting the woman and her family in relation to infertility
b. Assisted reproductive technologies
2. Maternal complexities during pregnancy, labour and birth
a.Complications in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy (including miscarriages, ectopic pregnancy, hyperemesis and termination of pregnancy for fetal abnormalities)
b.Hypertensive disorders across the perinatal period
c. Maternal infections and infectious diseases e.g. TORCH, GBS, Hep B, HIV
d.Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes
e. Cholestasis of pregnancy
f. Antiphospholipid syndrome
g. Gestational growth issues
h. Pre-term labour and birth
3. Maternal complexities in the postnatal period
a. Postnatal complications e.g. urinary retention, haematoma, infections (other infections )
b. Perineal trauma
4. Caring for the newborn in complex situations
a. Premature infants
b. Neonatal jaundice
5. Supporting women with complex conditions and social and emotional issues
a. Pharmacology for complex conditions
b. Domestic violence (DV) and multidisciplinary consultation and care
c. Substance misuse (Alcohol and other drugs) and its impact on parenting and infant / child outcomes
d. Working with women who are experiencing DV and other complex family situations
e. Social and emotional needs of refugee and migrant women
6. Working in partnership with women with complex pregnancies
a. Assessment and monitoring of physical and emotional health and social well being
b. Psychiatric disorders, psychosocial assessment and referral
c. Perinatal grief and loss
d. Communication skills required to work effectively with women and families in need
7. Women with previous medical and surgical conditions that may impact on pregnancy and birth
a. Pre-existing medical conditions e.g. cardiac, respiratory, endocrine, neurological, autoimmune diseases, thyroid disease, gynaecological issues, neoplasia
b. Impacts of obesity across the perinatal period
c. Female genital mutilation


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Essay 2,500 words 50 N Individual
Final Exam 2 hours 50 Y Individual

Prescribed Texts

  • Pairman, S., Tracy, S., Dahlen, H. & Dixon, L. (2019). Midwifery: preparation for practice. (4th ed.). Chatswood, NSW: Elsevier.
  • Robson, S.E., & Waugh, J. (2013). Medical disorders in pregnancy: a manual for midwives. (2nd ed.). Chichester, UK:Wiley-Blackwell.

Teaching Periods

Spring (2023)

Parramatta - Victoria Rd


Subject Contact Leanne Luck Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window

Spring (2024)

Parramatta - Victoria Rd


Subject Contact Leanne Luck Opens in new window

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Structures that include subject