Changing models of public antenatal care in Australia: Is current practice meeting the needs of vulnerable populations?

Stephanie J. Brown, Georgina A. Sutherland, Jane M. Gunn, Jane S. Yelland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: to investigate women's views and experiences of public antenatal care. Design: population-based survey in two states. Setting: South Australia and Victoria, Australia. Participants: 4366 women surveyed at 5-6 months post partum. Findings: of 8468 eligible women mailed the survey, 52% returned completed questionnaires. Fifty-seven per cent of women (2496/4339) received public antenatal care. Of these, half attended a GP for some/all antenatal visits, 38% attended a public hospital clinic or midwives clinic, and 12% had primary midwife care, mostly in a midwifery group practice. Women with complex needs - young women, those experiencing multiple social health problems, women of non-English speaking background, and women at higher risk of complications in pregnancy - were the least likely to say that care met their needs. Women attending a GP or midwife as a primary caregiver were the most positive about their antenatal care: 69% and 74% respectively describing their antenatal care as 'very good'. Women attending a standard public hospital clinic were the least positive about their antenatal care with only 48% rating their care as 'very good'. Women enroling in GP shared care or attending a midwives clinic at a public hospital gave intermediate ratings. Conclusion and implications for practice: Models of public antenatal care involving a designated lead primary caregiver (GP or midwife) came closest to meeting women's need for information, individualised care and support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-309
Number of pages7
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Antenatal care
  • Patient experience
  • Vulnerable populations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Maternity and Midwifery

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