MATER Mothers’ Hospital has opened Queensland’s first, purpose-built 24/7 pregnancy centre to care for women with complications from the start of pregnancy through until six weeks after birth.
In Australia, as many as one in four women expecting a baby experience complications early in pregnancy – from conception to 20 weeks gestation.
Most women in this situation attend emergency departments or have to wait to see a general practitioner.
The opening of the hospital’s Pregnancy Assessment Centre (PAC) will provide care by a highly-trained team of doctors, nurses and midwives, and where a woman can present at any time of the day or night, seven days a week.
Mothers, Babies and Women’s Health Services medical director Dr Mike Beckmann said caring for women with a pregnancy complication from the beginning to the end of pregnancy in a single location was a unique model of care.
“It was important to balance the space to be able to provide appropriate care for women who are suffering a complication like miscarriage, as well as for other women who are having a baby, in the one location,” he said.
“An emergency department provides care for patients with all sorts of emergency.
“But when it is not an emergency, this is not the ideal place to come.
“There are few options for a woman experiencing early pregnancy bleeding or pain, concerned and worried at 2am, and wanting to know if everything is going to be okay.
“The pregnancy assessment centre tries to turn all that around and says whether its 2am or 2pm, you can come here and we will try and provide that answer for you in an environment where the midwives, nurses and doctors, are specialists in their field, and in an environment that is specifically designed to manage pregnancy complications.”
Mater patient Tebony Justins, who suffered the grief of having three miscarriages as well as a heartbreaking stillbirth, said a specialised facility open to everyone 24/7 would be invaluable to an expectant mother.
“The care I received at the emergency department at Mater was brilliant, but I wasn’t treated by a specialist obstetrician or midwife which gives you more peace of mind,” she said.
“From an emotional point of view, obstetricians and midwives are experienced in dealing with women who have had miscarriages and know the sensitivities around them.”
In preparation for the opening of the new centre, Mater Education undertook two days of simulations involving Mater doctors and midwives, and specifically trained Mater volunteers as patients to replicate and manage a range of patient presentations.
Women can either call the pregnancy assessment centre, or just present to the centre if they have any pregnancy-related concerns. General practitioners can also refer to the service.
The centre was based in Mater Mothers’ Hospital at Raymond Terrace, South Brisbane, and can be contacted on (07) 3163 7000.