43 responses to “MGP – Midwifery Group Practice Adelaide”

  1. Grant Horsfall

    It will be interesting to see what, if anything, is put in writing.

    Would be interesting if her life partner happened to be an independant midwife. Excluded too?


  2. Anonymous

    Please clarify something for me. Are you going with her as her doula, or do you have hospital privileges? I can understand if they didn’t want two midwives fighting to be the primary birth attendant, but it seems completely bizarre to deny a woman labor support.

  3. Lisa Barrett

    I don’t have hospital privileges, but even if I did, if a woman wants 5 midwives she is entitled. In the group there is often two midwives together, on labour ward two midwives are at the birth. What’s the big deal. If the woman doesn’t have a problem with it why should a midwife?

  4. slh35661

    Wow, what a stupid situation this group has put out as midwifery care. I don’t know the ins and outs where you practice, but I can’t imagine working in a practice that would do this kind of thing to deny a woman the right to have a support person of her choosing to accompany her during labor. Odd. Maybe these midwives aren’t very sure of their own knowledge? Sounds like an ego issue.

  5. Grant Horsfall

    If there were room for negotiation then perhaps an agreement that you could attend IF both her allocated AND backup midwife were not available.

    This would provide some reasurance for your friend that someone she knows will be there, given her last two experiences, and also doesn’t impact on any personal concerns/issues her allocated midwives may have about your presence with them attending.

    Grant Horsfall

  6. Deb

    It’s a pity the care of a woman has to be comprimised in any situation. I work in group practice and also support Lisa with her values and beliefs. I have been working full time since May 2007 of which my case load is 4 women a month and back up another 4 women a month. multiply this by the number of midwives in a team, say 7 and you can see at any given time demands may be high given allocated times of employment eg 38 hours a week. I recently worked 6 12 hour days in 8 and not all daytime hours. Not long ago I worked with 11 labouring and birthing women in 19 working days, not all my primary clients and an average working week above 56 hours. It breaks my heart when I can no longer be my primary clients carer, 24 hour labours, prolonged latent phases and big babies that do not want to decend in that time or past 9cms and the inevitable emergency lscs. I have missed out on 3 primary clents births due to days off in that time as well as making myself available for some clients on my days off.I like a few of my colleagues have supported successsful and doctor free with minimal monitoring of vbac clients in the birthing centre as well. But all said and done it still saddens me to think a women’s care and ongoing support be jepepared by something that could easily be rectified.

  7. Lisa Barrett

    Thanks Deb for your valuable comments. Women are very lucky to have you.

  8. pinky

    Well that sucks. You know I don’t agree with many things you agree with. But if you arrived at my hospital to help with a friend. I would welcome you. The woman has every right to choose who is at her birth. And it would be less work for me. Some folks are just too possessive.

  9. Lisa Barrett

    Thanks Pinky.

  10. Starlight

    Maybe on some level they feel ‘threatened’ by your being there?
    If you are there as a support person only it surely is nothing to do with that, IM or no, but possibly more to do with the fact you are an IM that so obviously knows her stuff and that could be a challenge to their work practice to have you ‘looking over their shoulder’ so to speak. Almost as though they believe they cannot hope to achieve your totally ‘woman centred’ focus and complete and profound belief in unhindered birth because of the constraints placed upon them by the system?
    Just a thought.

  11. Lisa Barrett

    Starlight you are probably right. It just wasn’t meant to be that way.

  12. Anonymous

    Birthing in the system is all about control. Control of women’s bodies, the ignoring of evidence, the placing of everyone’s needs ahead of that of the mother/baby dyad. How simple it should be but in reality it will never be like that in institutions where surgeons are paramount. I really don’t know why women who know better don’t just choose better but that’s how the system manages to keep going unopposed, hey?

    Women should be able to have whomever they choose with them at THEIR birth. Birth belongs to women not midwives, not surgeons and not anyone else.

  13. Anonymous

    as midwife with the group practice i beg to differ. women can have who they want to at the birth of their baby. when it comes to PAID midwives who are also caring for them that is a different story. if a midwife goes on holidays then they have no allocations for a two weeks before their holidays and two weeks after their holidays.
    as a midwife it is not about how i want the woman to birth but what she wants.

  14. Lisa Barrett

    Thanks for your comments anonymous, can you elaborate on why it’s different if you pay the birth attendant? What if the paid attendant is a relavtive or friend. Is the problem only that they are being paid?

  15. Anonymous

    would you allow a obstetrican at the birth of one of your women

  16. Lisa Barrett

    Firstly it’s not my place to allow anyone or anything as it’s not my birth. Maybe you can take a look at the language you use surrounding birth.

    Second, An Ob is a specialist in complications of pregnancy and can hardly be compared to a midwife.
    Do you have an issue surrounding possession of birth? Birth and the experience belong to the woman. If you are the same anonymous maybe you could answer the initial question. Does paying a birth attendant become the reason you take control of who attends the womans birth?

  17. Anonymous

    I’m rather confused and think there may be more to the story and I can see that some posting here are forming their opinions without being aware of all the good the MGP model of care offers.

    I have successfully employed my very own Birth Attendants within the MGP and have also been a Birth Attendant at many births via the MGP. I have found the MW’s to be very pleased with my support of women and also very pleased with my supporters and we have all been able to work together harmoniously.

    I’m glad you are not referring to all MW’s in the MGP as I think we are very lucky to have the few outstanding MW’s who are willing to work within the system, the very MW’s who have fought for all the changes that have taken place over the years, the MW’s who like you have banged their heads against the wall fighting for women’s rights!

    I also think it’s up to all of us to build relationships, I don’t like this ‘Us vs. Them’ attitude, especially a MW attacking other MW’s.

    I think as women and individuals it’s up to us to make whatever model of care we choose work for us. It’s very easy to get to know many of the MW’s so you’ll at least have met your attending MW and not have the run of the mill labour ward experience (Although there are a couple of excellent MW’s working in that model of care too) and get a complete stranger.

    As far as double dipping goes, I know how desperate women are to get into the MGP model of care, sadly they can’t take everyone – I remember a woman not long ago bagging a MW in MGP because she wouldn’t order her multiple scans so she could have a collection of pictures of her baby (sigh) – this woman should have gone to her local OB, I’m sure he/she would have been more than happy to cater to her choices. I don’t feel this woman had a right to complain and she should have given up her spot to someone who wanted MW’y only care.

    One question: Why on earth does your ‘friend’ want to go to the MGP if she wasn’t happy with her previous experiences?

    No…TWO questions: Can’t you give her mates rates so she can birth at home?

    Seems to me, if she wants a guarantee of getting her very own MW to attend her birth, she should hire the likes of you.

    As for Deb – I wouldn’t consider myself lucky to have you, after reading you comments I am now left wondering why you aren’t an IPM, why are you working in MGP?

    To conclude, there will always be women who will never birth at home and I believe that the MGP model of care offers them the next best choice available.

  18. Lisa Barrett

    Dear Anonymous, How cowardly of you not to put your name to this post. when you are making personal comments about others. This issue wasn’t about birthing at home so in your anger and ignorance you have actually missed the point. This client doesn’t want to birth at home and your childish comments makes you look a little daft, Mates rates, free or thousands.

    This is not double dipping as mgp is a services paid for with Taxes where as women pay for me privately and if you have actually been a birth attendant you would know this. I would be quite happy to work harmoniously with any midwives and have done successfully on the main labour ward.
    Any us and them is created by the Group. Unless you are actually in the group how would you know what has gone on.

    I was under no obligation to print this mail as personal comments about people as you did about Deb is not really appropriate. However I am happy to discuss any points of view. Just have to courage to use your name.

  19. Lisa Barrett

    I want to add that I do have clients that have employed a private Ob. Seen them once and then doesn’t seem them again unless we transfer to hospital or we have a pregnancy complication that needs collaboration. Brian Peat did this regularly before he stopped private work and Chris Wilkinson also has done it.
    At present I am birthing with a woman who has Tracey Bradbury at Burnside. In the Mt Barker area I think Andre Clomp does a similar set up. Working together isn’t impossible if the practitioners and the woman are all in agreement.

  20. Anonymous

    lisa i work with mgp and today i liased with medical staff to keep a woman in the birth centre as she wanted a vbac and post dates. The result a beautiful waterbirth assisted by Dad onto mums chest. this experience was a highlight of my midwifery career. the woman stayed strong and i advocated for her to achieve the birth that she wanted.

  21. Anonymous

    I've birthed babies in the MGP, the only place I could have birthed at the time knowing that my MW was advocating for me and helping me navigate through the system to achieve the births I desired. I have been considered and labelled high risk previously, yet with the MGP I was able to have very quick and easy L&D's due to the excellent care and gracious attitudes I received and with no interventions and with my support people by my side!
    I sing the praises of the women who work in the system and often against it or they know how to juggle it to help the women that desire their help. I think sometimes you have to put the responsibility onto the woman who is birthing to dictate to the system, as it's her birth not the medical system's birth. Our culture needs to change!

  22. Vicki

    I value your opinions however, not being in the profession, my question and concern is: surely 12 hours , with no leave or holidays, is not a good scenario re: health and safety, for the midwife or her client. Everyone needs to be refreshed and alert, and no matter how passionate we are about our profession, we owe it to ourselves and others to be fresh and clear headed when dealing with people’s lives. Am I missing something here? Vicki

  23. Lisa Barrett

    Hoefully you’ll still feel the same when you have children. Working shifts is not condusive to the relationship of women and midwives. I take it you are not going to be looking for a physiological birth, then you are right it really doesn’t matter how many midwives you see or what really happens as long as you think they are clear headed.

  24. Anonymous

    has the woman birthed yet lisa and did you “support” her the way that you wanted to within the hosptial system

  25. Lisa Barrett

    Dear Anonymous, seen as your part of the group practice I’m sure you can answer this question, maybe you would like to get in touch with the woman yourself. Alternatively you could wait for her birth story which I’m sure will appear here shortly. Feel free to get in touch with me directly if you’d like

  26. Lisa Barrett

    that your should read you are, oops nobody is perfect!!

  27. Anonymous

    lisa i am not part of group that you refer to just an interested person in regard to the outcome of the thread of this discussion.
    thanks anyhow for your cutting remarks which were in my view unwarranted

  28. Lisa Barrett

    Cant imagine anyone who didn’t know the whole story to be as rude as to put “support” in this way about my care. It didn’t feel like interest but like a very catty comment. Beautiful people read this blog. The comments on this thread by the group practice have been less than nice and this certainly appears to be one written just a few days after her birth. How coincidental.
    If you are not part of the group maybe you were mistakenly hostile then I appologise. The full story is about to appear on my front page.
    As I said please feel free to get in touch with me anytime.

  29. Anonymous

    I wanted to say that i have been fortunate to have had my two children through MGP. I had the same primary and backup both times (though backup delivered bub 2). I truly enjoyed my experiences. I was not forced at any point to do anything that i did not want. Ironically, my midwife’s backup is very pro homebirth – something i found out after she delivered my baby at home (not intentionally, bub was in a hurry). Whereas i realise that i was the one to read this blog, i did feel a little hurt when MGP midwives were generalised as being something that i had not found any of them to be in any of my experiences of them.

  30. Anonymous

    I had a bad experience with Mary-Anne from the MGP with the birth of my first baby – she was totally unsupportive and frankly quite rude. I want to go through the MGP next time but will be requesting anyone else but her.

  31. Carina

    Hi Lisa,
    It is a real quandry working as a midwife. None would argue that continuity of care is fantastic for women because of better birth outcomes and satisfaction rates etc etc and for midwives because of increased satisfaction rates but there is also ample evidence out there to suggest that burnout rates are high in our profession Robinson and Owen (1994). Midwives cite reasons of family commitments as one of the areas that is compromised when working in our profession on an on call basis. Our current society is stressful, often with two parents working and since I have been a midwife I have noticed a number of marriage breakups amongst my colleagues.Lisa, midwives like yourself are a rarity,I am not sure but I would guess you have had to sacrifice things at times that may have been important to you. I would love to do what you do but I know that sort of pressure would cause the wheels to stop turning at home and pretty soon my own family would be fractured, (which would be ironic considering I would be helping someone begin theirs) I am not ashamed to say that as a midwife with a family I am really affected by work life balance. I have the utmost respect for your ability to hand your life over to the women that you care for. I would like to suggest however that most midwives are not like yourself, fortunate enough to be in a situation that allows you to work in the way that you do. I would also like to add that although many of us choose to work in the system we DO care about physiological birth and woman centred care and we often spend much of the shift protecting them. We also birth women who are bruised by society, who have huge social issues, who cannot speak English, who have not educated themselves at all about birth and those who are in the private system. Our role as midwives is not confined to working with the select few who are interested in birth and have educated themselves around the topic. I take exception to your inference about shift working midwives not caring about physiological birth and your comment ‘as long as you think they are clear headed’ is unusual. Wouldn’t you want a clear headed midwife at your birth? I would! So does it stand to reason then that shift workers are clear headed but work in a flawed system but the alternative is to birth with a homebirth midwife (who hasn’t slept for days?) Hard choice. I am tired of hospital midwives being referred to in this way. We do a fantastic job. We know that the system is flawed and no-one would ever argue that, but it is a huge complex issue. I really enjoy your blog Lisa and I think that you provide a wonderful and valuable service in Adelaide but publishing assumptions about midwives who do not work like yourself is a mistake, as well as publishing comments where Midwives are named is unfortunate and unprofessional. and ultimately detracts from the integrity of your blog.

  32. Nikki

    Hi everyone,
    i am a midwifery student and i really think its important to have who you want in your labour supporting you as well as doing what is best for you and your baby. i have a question for Lisa as to what exactly you wanted to do in the labour that they wouldn’t let you do… what i mean is was there something in particular that you wanted to do for her that they did not allow? i guess as i am not very experienced i am just trying to understand the suituation and am not trying to upset anyone by asking these questions.

  33. Nikki

    ok thanks for clearing that up for me. I was just curious to whether the woman had a positive birth experience this time? was her primary or back up midwife available for the birth?

  34. Hannah

    Just reread this post since I started following your blog a couple of years ago. For me, it is so clear that the MGP midwives seem to need to constantly justify their work. If you don’t want to be a midwife, don’t be one. Don’t make excuses and fall back on the “us vs. them” argument. It isn’t an “us vs. them” argument, its a “sticking up for women to be in control of their own birth argument”. So interesting that they’ve turned this post about a woman’s birth choices being reduced into a justification of their style of care and how you should support birth in the system. Birth isn’t about YOU, its about WOMEN.

  35. Hannah

    Of course she was removed, don’t want to have to care for a woman who thinks she’s in control of her birth, that’ll just make trouble, “lisa barrett” style trouble.. blergh..

  36. Katie Lenon

    I just wanted to say that I had a 100% positive experience in MGP recently, giving birth to my first child 4 months ago (spontaneous, drug free, vaginal birth). I felt we (my husband and I) were in control of what happened, felt understood, nurtured and safe. We brought a good friend along acting as doula but I also had my primary Midwife there the entire time (3hrs active labour). She also provided all our postnatal care at home, which for a 1st time Mum was almost the best part! I was encouraged, felt my body could do it and was calm and very focussed the entire labour. We only just got to the hospital in time (30 mins to spare) and then our daughter was born. I am still only learning about the issues surrounding midwifery and birth in this country and state and have heard some less than ideal stories from friends and women I’ve met during my journey into motherhood. I am so glad I researched and talked to people about my options of care before I went down the well trodden OB path. If only everyone realised these options are out there and that, in most cases, there is no “quackery” or risk involved in not having an OB involved. I wouldn’t hesitate to go to MGP for subsequent births but am also considering homebirth next time around.

  37. Amy

    Similar to Carina, I am a midwife working in the hospital system and whilst I appreciate it’s flaws, agree that a lot of midwives do a great job of accompanying births with a woman-centred approach. It seems to me that there is a huge generalisation being made about hospital employed midwives here, on the basis of one midwife having professional or personal issues with you, Lisa. And the comment “I always knew it wasn’t possible to get a great birth in the system but I thought the group practice was the best of the rest. It isn’t: they are arrogant control freaks who consider their own ego and needs over that of birthing women” seems both personal in nature and in itself arrogant to me. Without trying to have a go, what makes one midwife enlightened above all others? How is it that you can accuse poeple in health care system and mainstream media of making assumptions without knowing you, when you call what hundreds of midwives do “poor care” without knowing them? I genuinely don’t mean to be rude but it all seems a little hypocritical to me.

  38. Manu Johnson Peake

    Many thanks to everyone here who have left their thoughts and beliefs for others to read. I want to share how it is/was for us! :-) We now live in NZ. Next week we are bringing our 7 year old daughter to Adelaide – back to where she was born, within the MGP at the Women’s and Children’s, and we are so excited!! Our son, three years old, was born in our bed at home, in NZ, also with the help and support of precious Midwives. I began reading these messages, interested in finding out about Adelaide’s MGP and wanting an update of sorts, as we intend on taking our children to show them where she was born. Adelaide is a very special place for us all, it was/is a wonderful beginning for our daughter’s life, and we treasure our experience there. We will also be visiting the place where we buried her placenta – Mt Lofty Botanical Gardens – as this is now her ‘turangawaewae’ – her ‘standing place.’ And no, that’s not allowed! :-) For us the MGP was just beginning in 2004. We loved the experience, and their support allowed us to make our own informed decisions, remaining completely empowered throughout. We owe the MGP service the respect and warmth it gave us, in return. If in time the wrinkles are not smoothed out, do they not etch themselves as laughter lines? At nearly 40 I realise a few things differently to when I was younger, less experienced, and I often find myself encouraging my children to appreciate what they have. It’s interesting reading all your views, and, while freedom of speech is incredibly important, and any form of sharing and supportive communication equally valuable, please take a moment to appreciate what you DO have, as there are so many people….women….children… out there who sadly are missing out. Embrace the angels around you, especially the one you see facing you each morning from the mirror. Especially the Birthing Angels – and many thanks to ours. :-) Best of luck in all your journeys, may you enjoy each and every one.