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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

New model of care for pregnant women being rolled out in Northern Ireland

Woman holding her pregnant tummy.

A new model of care which will improve maternity services for women and babies in Northern Ireland is being launched.


The new model, which will see women receive support from the same midwifery team during pregnancy, birth and in the early days after birth, is being rolled out across all Health and Social Care (HSC) Trusts in the coming months.


‘Continuity of Midwifery Carer’ (CoMC) is a new model of care for women throughout their childbirth journey that will provide positive clinical outcomes and higher care satisfaction.


Chief Nursing Officer for Northern Ireland, Maria McIlgorm said:

“This is a very positive development for maternity services in Northern Ireland. There is a clear evidence base behind the Continuity of Midwifery Carer model which shows that when a woman knows their midwife it can make a significant difference to their experience and outcome.


“This woman and family-centred model of care will mean that women across Northern Ireland using our maternity services will receive support from the same dedicated midwifery team throughout their pregnancy, birth and postnatal period.” 


Michelle Harrison, Midwife Consultant (Continuity of Midwifery Carer) at the Public Health Agency, added:

“Every pregnant woman who is eligible – those who receive all their antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care in the same HSC Trust – will have a named midwife who works in a small team of midwives. The named midwife will be the key professional responsible for coordinating the woman’s care.”


Evidence shows that if a woman is cared for under the CoMC model they are more likely to have a positive birth experience and are less likely to experience complications.

Michelle continued: “Each HSC Trust in Northern Ireland has been forging ahead to ensure that the essential building blocks are in place to support the implementation of this new model of care. Over the next few months it is anticipated that all HSC Trusts will have at least one team established.


“Women will be able to decide if they wish to benefit from this model of care and will meet their named midwife at their antenatal booking appointment. This midwife will be responsible for planning and providing care throughout their pregnancy, birth and postnatal period. If at any stage of the pregnancy, birth or postnatal period a woman needs to see a consultant or other medical specialist, their named midwife may attend these appointments with them.


“The CoMC Team will provide 24/7 availability for labour and birth and will support women in all birth choice settings. The named midwife will also support a woman during discharge from hospital, if that is where she had her baby, will visit her at home after the birth, and will co-ordinate the handover of care to the Health Visitor, to ensure the mother and baby get the care they need.”


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