Midwife Andrea Quanchi has established a maternity service in Shepparton that will provide midwifery care during pregnancy, birth and post-birth.By Kaitlin Thals
Echuca-based midwife Andrea Quanchi is driving an initiative to ensure Goulburn Valley expectant mothers have the care and choices they need.
Mrs Quanchi — a midwife for 27 years — has established a maternity service in Shepparton that caters for pregnancy, birth and post-birth care.
My Midwives Shepparton provides women and their families with expert midwifery care from the same midwife throughout the entire pregnancy.
Mrs Quanchi is also a maternal and child health nurse, so women can bring their children until they reach school age.
‘‘This is just another way of giving women an option other than the hospital to go for antenatal care — and we don’t have any boundaries,’’ she said.
‘‘Having a known midwife and having the same midwife all the way through, you get to develop that relationship during the pregnancy, and when they’re in labour they are confident with who they’re with.’’
Mrs Quanchi also works part-time as a midwife at Goulburn Valley Health and Echuca Regional Health. She said private midwives did not presently have access to hospitals, but were able to be there during birth for their patients.
Mrs Quanchi is working with GV Health and the Department of Health to gain access and be the first midwife in Victoria to do so.
‘‘It is exciting, I’ve been a midwife since 1985 and I think I’ve got a few years of work yet, but I have a daughter who’s a midwife and I see this as the way of the future,’’ Mrs Quanchi said.
‘‘Somebody has to be the person who has to forge ahead and make these changes.’’
Mrs Quanchi said she based the Shepparton clinic on a Queensland clinic in Toowoomba, while working this year as a locum for six weeks. She said in Queensland private midwives had access to public hospitals, unlike in NSW and Victoria.
She said government regulations changed this year, which gave midwives Medicare access.
‘‘There are quite a number of Medicare-eligible midwives that are all trying to get through the same process. Once it’s done somewhere, hopefully it will be easier for everyone — I think there’s a lot of other hospitals sitting back and waiting for us before they do it,’’ she said.
Mrs Quanchi has an almost identical service running in Echuca, but does home visits.
The Shepparton-based service is on Wyndham St in a homely, comfortable setting.
‘‘I know when I was meeting women for the first time when they were in labour, and trying to develop a rapport with someone who was already in labour is virtually impossible,’’ she said.
‘‘There’s a lot of women who are frightened of birth, but when you meet women during their pregnancies you don’t have that and they have better outcomes.
‘‘It’s shown repeatedly in statistics. I take women of all risks and we adapt the care to their needs. My caesarean rate is within the World Health Organisation recommendation of 12 to 15 per cent, where other places the caesarean rates are much higher.’’
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