University of Technology Sydney

92271 Foundations of Midwifery Practice

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2022 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Health
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject introduces students to childbearing as a normal, but significant life event for a woman and her family. Students apply their developing understanding of anatomy and physiology to childbearing. Through the use of simulated environments, students develop communication skills to enable them to work effectively with women through the childbearing period. The subject focuses on the physical and emotional changes during pregnancy, labour and birth and the postnatal period and their potential effects on women's experience of childbearing.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
A. Describe the importance of pre-conceptual care and how environment, lifestyle choices and medications can affect the developing baby;(NMBA 4.3,5.1,5.2)
B. Describe the anatomy and physiology related to pregnancy, childbirth, the puerperium and lactation and apply to midwifery care;(NMBA 4.3)
C. Recognise the physical and emotional changes during pregnancy and their potential effects on women’s lives and wellbeing;(NMBA 4.3,5.1,5.2)
D. In a simulated environment, demonstrate initial midwifery practice skills related to the care of the woman and her baby during pregnancy, labour, birth and the puerperium;(NMBA 5.1,5.2,5.3,5.4)
E. In a simulated environment, demonstrate skills in communication, reflection and effective documentation;(NMBA 1.3)
F. Identify strategies for keeping birth normal;(NMBA 5.1,7.1)
G. Discuss the physiological adaptation of the newborn baby;(NMBA 5.2)
H. Recognise the value of evidence informed practice in midwifery(NMBA 14.1)

Teaching and learning strategies

In this subject, you will participate in a range of teaching and learning strategies that are designed to enable your understanding of anatomy and physiology in relation to pregnancy, birth and the puerperium. You will learn to provide midwifery care in partnership with women through pregnancy, birth and the puerperium.

Online learning activities
Students access online learning resources including podcasts, videos and professional literature prior to face to face attendance. Other online resources enable students to clarify concepts and terminology.

In class activities
Face to face lectures are provided to enable students to clarify, discuss and develop subject concepts, including the online learning modules. Activities include case studies and stories from practice when working with women in pregnancy, birth and the puerperium.

Clinical skills, communication and simulation
Students will participate in simulated practice of clinical skills used in midwifery practice, including assessment and interventions for women through pregnancy, birth and the puerperium. Activities include the use of manikins, teaching staff or other students as simulated women.
Students learn and practice clinical and interpersonal skills with case scenarios in the class room. These practice scenarios incorporate the development of professional communication skills including consultation and referral to medical colleagues.

Students' understanding of the physiology of pregnancy, birth and the puerperium together with the development of midwifery practice will be assessed in an authentic essay relating to the minor disorders of pregnancy and an end of year case study format examination.

Content (topics)

  • Antenatal period: anatomy of pelvis and fetal skull, physiological changes of pregnancy and influence on the woman, psychosocial issues, midwifery care, exploration of options.
  • During labour and birth: physiological process, mechanisms of labour, psychological and sociocultural influences, exploration of ways to keep birth normal, and midwifery care.
  • Postpartum period: physical and emotional changes in the postpartum period and their potential effects on women's lives and wellbeing, sociocultural influences, physiology of lactation, WHO code, exploration of options, midwifery care.
  • Working with women from culturally and linguistically diverse communities (CALD).
  • Newborn period: physiological adaptation and normal behaviour.
  • Woman centred care in practice.
  • Community resources available to women and families.
  • Occupational health and safety in maternity care.


Assessment task 1: Minor discomforts of pregnancy


The physiological changes of pregnancy often cause discomforts in pregnancy. Providing woman centred midwifery care encompasses the normalisation of pregnancy and associated discomforts. Midwives need to have the prerequisite knowledge to identify minor discomforts and provide information for women to minimise the discomforts.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B and C

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

.0, .0 and .0

Weight: 40%

1500 words

  1. Discussion of physiology of 5 minor disorders of pregnancy (10 marks)
  2. Description of symptoms and identification of impact on women and their families (15 marks)
  3. Advice provided to women (5 marks)
  4. Summary/conclusion/referencing/academic skills (10 marks)
    • Concise summary of main issues
    • Correct referencing
    • Clarity of presentation
    • Logical organisation
    • Linking of ideas
    • Spelling, sentence structure, punctuation

Assessment task 2: Case Based Examination


Pregnancy, birth and the transition to parenthood is a significant life event for women and their families. Midwifery students will demonstrate an understanding of the physiology the woman is experiencing during the childbearing period. Through critical thinking the midwifery student provides choices in providing woman centred midwifery care throughout pregnancy, birth and the early parenting period.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

.0 and .0

Weight: 60%

Two hour case study format exam

Assessment task 3: Anatomy & Physiology Workbook


Accuracy of recall and application of information related to anatomy and physiology will assist the midwifery student with understanding the physical and emotional changes a woman experiences during pregnancy, birth and the puerperium.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

B and G

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):


Weight: Mandatory task that does not contribute to subject mark

Minimum requirements

The assessment items are explained fully on the following pages. You must complete all pieces of work and achieve a mark of 50% for each assessment item.

Required texts

Johnson, R. & Taylor, W. 2010, Skills for midwifery Practice, 3rd edn, Churchill Livingston, Edinburgh.

Gray, J. & Smith, R. 2008, Midwifery essentials, Butterworth Heineman Elsevier, Sydney.

Gray, J., Smith, R. & Homer, C. 2008, Illustrated dictionary of midwifery, Elsevier, Australia, Sydney.

Marshall, J.E. & Raynor, M.D. 2014, Myles' Textbook for Midwives, 16th edn, Churchill Livingston, Sydney.

Waugh, A. & Grant, A. 2014, Ross & Wilson anatomy and physiology in health and illness, 12th edn, Churchill Livingstone, Sydney.

Recommended texts

Pariman, S., Pincombe, J., Thorogood, C., & Tracy, S., 2015, Midwifery preparation for practice, 3rd edn, Elsevier Churchill Livingstone, Sydney.

Other resources

UTS Student Centre
Building 10
Monday to Friday: 9am - 5pm
Tel: 1300 ASK UTS (1300 275 887)

Details for student centres:
For other resources/information refer to the Faculty of Health website (, the Health Student Guide ( and UTSOnline at:

UTS Library
The Library has a wide range of resources, facilities and services to support you including textbooks, subject readings, old exam papers, academic writing guides, health literature databases, workshops, a gaming room and bookable group study rooms. There is also a team of librarians to help you with all your questions.
W:, Facebook: utslibrary, Twitter: @utslibrary
Tel: (02) 9514 3666

Improve your academic and English language skills
Marks for all assessment tasks such as assignments and examinations are given not only for what you write but also for how you write. If you would like the opportunity to improve your academic and English language skills, make an appointment with the HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support) Service in Student Services.

HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support)
HELPS provides assistance with English language proficiency and academic language. Students who need to develop their written and/or spoken English should make use of the free services offered by HELPS, including academic language workshops, vacation intensive courses, drop-in consultations, individual appointments and Conversations@UTS ( HELPS staff are also available for drop-in consultations at the UTS Library. Phone (02) 9514 9733

Please see for additional information on other resources provided to students by UTS.