7 - 8 Dec 2020

Midwifery Challenges Conference - Melbourne 2020

QRC: 4061
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Why Attend

This popular annual conference enables you, as a midwife, to explore the challenges of your profession as well at the many beautiful moments. This year you will discover:

  • New clinical practices that enhance mother and baby outcomes
  • Making difficult psychosocial situations safe
  • Updates on substance use and pregnancy
  • Practical tips to support interprofessional practice
  • Latest evidence in relation to perinatal complications
  • Breastfeeding and modern medicines
  • Professional issues relevant to midwifery practice and much, much more…

This Ausmed event is always highly evaluated. Don’t miss out – book now!


8:30 Registration for Day One


Welcome and Introduction

Professor Mary Carolan-Olah

The Older Gravida: Pregnancy in Women Over 35

In an age where women will focus on their career prior to having children, it’s normal to hear about women giving birth at a later age. This session will look at pregnancy after 35, also known as geriatric pregnancy, and includes:

  • What are the special considerations for women who are pregnant over 35?
  • How can we promote the healthy pregnancy of the pregnant woman who is older than 35?
Heather Harris

Antenatal Expressing: Myths V Facts

In certain low-risk populations, the practice of antenatal expressing has become increasingly widespread. This is particularly helpful among pregnant women with gestational or pre-existing diabetes. This session provides guidance on:

  • What are the benefits of antenatal expression of colostrum?
  • When is antenatal expressing appropriate?
  • Are there certain risks?
  • What are the quick tips on how to teach, store and feed antenatally expressed colostrum?
10:45 Morning Tea

Karyn Smith

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome: Assessment and Treatment

It is vital that midwives are aware of the importance of assessing and managing a neonate who is withdrawing from illicit substances as a result of maternal use. If a baby is withdrawing, neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) may develop and the ability to correctly assess these babies is imperative. Topics include:

  • Signs and symptoms of NAS
  • The withdrawal period and average length of recovery
  • How to complete NAS scoring and why this is needed
  • The treatment of NAS affected babies
Heather Harris

Breastfeeding After Breast Reduction or Augmentation Surgery

After the baby is born, breastfeeding is usually the next step. For some mothers, this is easier said than done. One of the reasons for this may be their history of breast surgery. This session will discuss:

  • Why is it difficult for some women who have undergone breast surgery to breastfeed?
  • What are galactagogues and how can they potentially help women who are struggling to breastfeed?
  • What are the ways that midwives can support their patients who have previously undergone breast surgery and are having issues breastfeeding?
1:00 Lunch and Networking

Karyn Smith

Obesity, Labour and Delivery: A Look at the Risks

With more research, we are uncovering the potential risk of complications to labour and delivery linked to obesity in pregnancy. This session looks at:

  • What is the evidence on maternal obesity and slow cervical dilatation?
  • How common is the risk of prolonged labour?
  • Why do we see higher rates of medical interventions around labour and birth in obese women?
  • How can we maintain a woman-centred approach to management during these situations?
3:00 Afternoon Tea

Dr Christine Sammartino

The Pregnant Mother and Kidney Disease

When the pregnant patient has renal disease, we have to keep in mind that there are two patients who will need medical attention. This session will look at:

  • What are the possible effects of renal disease on pregnancy?
  • Does renal disease in early and late pregnancy affect pregnancy differently?
  • Is dialysis safe for pregnant women and their unborn children?
4:30 Close of Day One of Conference

9:00 Commencement of Day Two

Medina Idriess

Female Circumcision

Female circumcision, commonly referred to as female genital mutilation (FGM), is a reality for around 53,000 women living in Australia. This practice carries with it the chances of infertility, prolonged and obstructed labour and, in some cases, infant death. This session will look at:

  • What is female circumcision/FGM?
  • Why is it important for us to ascertain if our patient has gone through FGM?
  • Are there any treatments for women available to treat the adverse results and effects of FGM?
Rodney Whyte

Asthma, Allergies and Pregnancy

An appreciation of the latest evidence is necessary to deliver safe medication for pregnant women with allergies. This session offers insight into the medication management of women with common allergies, such as asthma, during pregnancy. It includes:

  • Are antihistamines safe?
  • Which decongestants are appropriate for use during pregnancy?
  • What about nasal sprays and other common medications?
11:00 Morning Tea

Katrina Flora & Kerrie Felemonow

Drugs, Alcohol and Motherhood

Mothers who are currently or have previously used alcohol, tobacco and other drugs during pregnancy often report negative experiences when receiving care from a health care facility. It is important as caregivers to deliver honest, open and non-judgemental care, improving outcomes for these mothers. This open and honest session will challenge you to consider and discuss the following:

  • Providing non-judgemental care
  • Supporting women with lifestyles that involve an addiction to tobacco, alcohol and cannabis
  • Finding the time to provide practical harm minimisation education to women
  • Statewide services that are useful with post-natal discharge planning
12:30 Lunch and Networking

Sophie Thompson

Organ and Tissue Donation in Neonates and Infants

Organ donations may save lives, and this includes donations from neonates and infant donors. In this session, we will discuss:

  • What are the criteria for an eligible donor in neonates and infants?
  • How can we respectfully approach the patient’s family regarding organ donation?
  • What are some of the clinical and ethical considerations in organ and tissue donation in neonates and infants?
Petra den Hartog

Supporting your Patients Through Grief and Loss

The birth of a baby is a joyous occasion in any culture, but what if the parents experience a stillbirth or infant death? This session will look at an unfortunate reality for some parents and the considerations surrounding these instances. It includes:

  • How can we support patients through grief and loss?
  • Are there any resources that midwives can access to help support their patients?
3:00 Afternoon Tea

Karyn Smith

Trauma-Informed Care in Midwifery

Several studies have found evidence that adverse childhood experiences affect women later in life, including during pregnancy. This session introduces trauma-informed care and practice and discusses:

  • What is trauma-informed care and why is it important?
  • How can we support our patients who have been through adverse childhood experiences?
4:30 Close of Conference and Evaluations


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Medina Idriess

Medina Idriess was a teacher in her homeland, Eritrea, and has always aimed to empower women to make informed decisions about their health. She has a graduate diploma in social science and has delivered bilingual health education at MCWH since 1999. Medina is the Family and Reproductive Rights Education Program (FARREP) worker at the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health and the Royal Women’s Hospital. In this role, she provides health education and information to support women who have experienced FGM/C. She assists health practitioners and communities to learn about the harmful impacts of FGM/C on women and girls.

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Katrina Flora

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Sophie Thompson

Sophie currently works as an Education Coordinator at DonateLife, the agency responsible for facilitating organ donation in Victoria. She is undertaking a Specialist Certificate in Clinical Leadership at Melbourne University. Prior to this, she worked as a Donation Specialist Nursing Coordinator for four years, a role which involved raising organ donation with the acutely bereaved, completing a thorough donor risk assessment, liaising with transplant units and advocating for the donor and donor families in the operating theatre. Sophie has a background in Intensive Care Nursing and worked as an Intensive Care Unit Clinical Educator and an Affiliate Lecturer at Latrobe University.

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Rodney Whyte

Rodney has a background of over 30 years of practice in hospital and community pharmacy, much of which has been as a specialist therapeutic medicines expert. He holds postgraduate qualifications, a Monash University appointment and has extensive clinical experience in a number of medical specialities. He is a member of, and consultant to, many professional healthcare organizations and committees. As a part of his current position as a senior pharmacist at the Monash Medicines Information Centre at Monash Health (Victoria), Rodney also delivers presentations to an extensive and diverse range of hospital and community groups. Monash Medicines Information provides independent, therapeutic medicines information and advice for obstetricians, consultants and medical practitioners, midwives and nursing staff, pharmacists, other health-care personnel and members of the public. The Medicines Information Centre specialises in providing counselling and assistance relating to the therapeutic use of medicines, particularly in obstetric, paediatric and women’s health settings.

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Heather Harris

Heather Harris first qualified as a midwife in 1970 and has worked in all areas of midwifery practice over the intervening years. She has served on a number of professional committees over the years, including ACMI (Vic) and ALCA (now LCANZ). She was involved in the successful BFHI accreditation for Mitcham Private Hospital, the RWH and Box Hill hospital. She is a breastfeeding specialist who first qualified as an IBCLC in 1991. She has also been involved in the education of health professionals, presenting in all states of Australia, as well as in the US and Hong Kong. Since 2001, Heather has served as a midwife for Doctors Without Borders in the Ivory Coast, South Sudan, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Nepal. She currently has her own private practice in lactation consultancy.

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Christine Sammartino

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Petra den Hartog

Petra is of Dutch background and has previously worked in multicultural secondary schools, as the multicultural coordinator and in student welfare. In her forties she retrained in social work and grief counselling, first working at the Coroner’s Court before working at SIDS and Kids (now called Red Nose) until last year. She has had six pregnancies and has one live child from these, having had miscarriages, a stillbirth at 20 weeks and a premature baby who lived for 10 days. She has presented on bereavement issues at international conferences and to hospital staff and to celebrants. She is especially interested in teaching on what bereaved parents want hospital professionals to know, gender and cultural issues, how parents can help themselves through grief and grow as individuals and the impact grief has on parents’ relationships, particularly on that between the parents but also with grandparents, friends, colleagues and their other children. She has written a self-help booklet called 'When Relationships Hurt, Too.'

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Mary Carolan-Olah

Professor Mary Carolan-Olah has been conducting research in high-risk pregnancy for almost 10 years. Her research has made a significant impact in a number of areas, including mature-aged pregnancy, diabetes in pregnancy, predictors of perinatal morbidity and ethnicity predictors for pregnancy. Mary is a registered nurse and midwife.

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Karyn Smith

Karyn Smith is a midwife working in women’s health in a regional Victorian city, as well as as an outreach clinical midwife consultant at a Metropolitan Hospital, providing collaborative midwifery care to vulnerable families in Melbourne. This role incorporates caring for women within community, mental health services and justice systems throughout their pregnancy, birth and early parenting experiences. A large part of this role is also to support other health care providers when caring for these complex families. Karyn has 30 years of midwifery experience with nurse practitioner endorsement in drug and alcohol and midwifery categories.

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Kerrie Felemonow

Need for Program

In recent years, birthing has increased in Australia. It is inevitable that there are gaps in the knowledge of many midwives in relation to the latest research and the emerging issues that face them in the current practice setting. The context in which midwives practice is increasingly complex and makes demands on the ever-expanding scope of practice. The link between education and the provision of quality care to mothers and their babies is indisputable. A broad range of education relating to contemporary midwifery practice will assist in closing the gaps in knowledge and practice.

Purpose of Program

This conference provides a broad range of education relevant to midwifery practice that will enhance the provision of quality care to mothers and babies.

Your learning outcomes

  • Apply evidence-based knowledge about several clinical aspects of midwifery care, including breastfeeding, which will improve the health and safety of mother and baby
  • Monitor the mother and baby during the perinatal period, taking into consideration conditions that impact on the best possible outcomes
  • Provide compassionate care to a woman who has challenges associated with the perinatal experience
  • Optimise interprofessional collaboration to enhance mother and baby outcomes

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Oaks on Market
60 Market St
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7 - 8 Dec 2020

Midwifery Challenges Conference - Melbourne 2020

QRC: 4061
Oaks on Market
Melbourne, VIC, 3000
Price: $629.00