Doha, 29 March 2021: Women’s Wellness and Research Center (WWRC) has pioneered the first-of-it-kind in Qatar midwifery led services aimed at normalizing pregnancy and birth in accordance with the Qatar National Health Strategy’s (NHS 2018-2022) focus on healthy women leading to healthy pregnancies.
The midwifery services feature a unique midwifery led antenatal clinic (MLAC) as well as the midwifery led unit (MLU). The MLU is currently located in the labor and delivery ward which caters to women whose pregnancies have remained low risk until they go into labor. MLAC offers support to low risk women during the antenatal period once they are referred from the primary care, private care or other health care facilities to the WWRC.
Antenatal care, also known as prenatal care, is a type of preventive healthcare to provide regular check-ups that allow doctors or midwives to identify, treat and prevent potential health problems in pregnant women.
“At their initial appointment in WWRC, a detailed and holistic assessment is undertaken to identify any risk factors that may be present at the time. Based on the findings of the assessment, women are then categorized as either low risk requiring midwifery led antenatal care, or high-risk requiring consultant/obstetric led antenatal care. Women classified as low risk are then cared for by a team of Clinical Midwife Specialists (CMS) and midwives in MLAC which has consulted over 800 women since its inception in August 2020. The MLAC functions four days a week from 7am to 3pm, explains Ms. Sibo Marufu, CMS Lead.
To ensure continuity of care for the women seen in MLAC, the MLU which is a low risk delivery service operates throughout the week from 7am to 7pm. The MLU is led by a team of CMSs who support women during their labor and delivery period, including the immediate postpartum period. The MLU has facilitated more than 200 births since its inception in July 2020.
“Supporting women to make decisions about their care is important throughout the pregnancy continuum. The MLAC ensures that women under the midwifery care have the right and holistic information which enables them to make informed decisions about their wellbeing and that of their babies throughout the pregnancy continuum. This objective is in line with the provisions of the NHS for healthy women leading to healthy pregnancies which aims to help, inform and empower women to lead healthier lives by providing them with high quality maternal care, enabling them to take care of themselves and their children,” notes Sister Haila Swaid Salim, WWRC’s Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery.
According to her, the antenatal services comprise an in-depth one-on-one discussion between the attending CMSs and the pregnant women which could include addressing any fears and anxiety they have about labor and delivery. The CMSs also discuss continuity of care after delivery and physiological journey to motherhood.
She explains further that the CMSs who are the lead clinicians in the midwifery services possess a wide range of expertise in leading the services. The CMSs work alongside registered midwives who are licensed through the Department of Healthcare Practitioner and Ministry of Public Health and have undergone an internal upskilling program led by the CMSs and also supported by the CMS within the clinical setting to ensure safe practice.
The midwifery led antenatal services were established by a team of dedicated WWRC leads comprising Dr Hilal Al Rifai, WWRC’s Acting CEO and Medical Director, Dr Salwa Mohd Abu Yaqoub, Obstetric Chair, Sister Haila Swaid Salim, Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery and Sister Muna Yaqout, Assistant Executive Director.