Maternity services publications

List of maternity services publications.

Page last updated: 15 February 2017

National Framework for Maternity Services


A fact sheet on the National Framework for Maternity Services can be accessed from the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council website.


National Maternity Services Plan and Annual Reports


National Maternity Services Plan 2010

National Maternity Services Plan: Implementation plan for the middle years 2012-13

National Maternity Services Plan: 2014-15 annual report (PDF 890 KB)
National Maternity Services Plan: 2014-15 annual report (Word 144 KB)

National Maternity Services Plan: 2013-14 annual report (PDF 200 KB)
National Maternity Services Plan: 2013-14 annual report (Word 80 KB)

National Maternity Services Plan: 2012-13 annual report (PDF 455 KB)
National Maternity Services Plan: 2012-13 annual report (Word 108 KB)

National Maternity Services Plan: 2011-2012 annual report (PDF)
National Maternity Services Plan: 2011-2012 annual report (Word)

National Maternity Services Plan: 2010-2011 annual report


Other National Maternity Services Plan Publications


Antenatal Care Guidelines

The development and implementation of the Antenatal Care Guidelines were actions under the National Maternity Services Plan. They are intended for all health professionals who contribute to antenatal care including midwives, obstetricians, general practitioners, practice nurses, maternal and child health nurses, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and allied health professionals. They are implemented at national, state, territory and local levels to provide consistency of antenatal care in Australia and ensure maternity services provide high-quality, evidence-based maternity care.

The Antenatal Care Guidelines consist of two Modules. Module 1 covers care in the first trimester of pregnancy and contains chapters on ‘Providing woman-centred care’, ‘Antenatal care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’ and ‘Population groups with specific care needs’ such as women in rural and remote areas. Clinical topics covered relate to antenatal visits, clinical assessments, screening of maternal and fetal health, and lifestyle considerations.

Module 2 addresses care in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy and provides guidance on core practices, lifestyle considerations, clinical assessments, common conditions and maternal health tests for healthy pregnant women.

On 24 February 2015 an addendum was issued making two minor changes to the text of Module 2. The PDF and Word versions of Module 2 provided on this website include the changes.

Antenatal Care Guidelines Module 1 (PDF)
Antenatal Care Guidelines Module 1 (Word)

Antenatal Care Guidelines Module 2 (PDF)
Antenatal Care Guidelines Module 2 (Word)

Antenatal Care Guidelines Addendum 1 (PDF)
Antenatal Care Guidelines Addendum 1 (Word)

Review of the Antenatal Care Guidelines
The Antenatal Care Guidelines are currently being reviewed to ensure they remain current and evidence-based. An Expert Working Group is overseeing the review. The revised guidelines will be released for public consultation in 2017. The final guidelines will be submitted to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) for consideration and approval.

Tools to inform future planning for Maternity Services

The aim of this report was to review the literature for tools to guide or inform heath service planning in rural and remote areas and to provide a snapshot of the extent of maternity services currently provided in the public sector in rural and remote communities of 1,000 to 25,000 people.

Tools to inform future planning for Maternity Services (PDF 1245 KB)
Tools to inform future planning for Maternity Services (Word 5.37 MB) Warning: Large File

National Survey of Access to Public Antenatal Care Services

The National Survey of Access to Public Antenatal Care Services reports on the 2012 national survey to assess the level of public access to antenatal services across Australia and investigate factors that cause, or are associated with poor access. The findings suggest that the antenatal service sector is under stress, particularly with regard to workforce maintenance issues.

National Survey of Access to Public Antenatal Care Services 2012 (PDF 1245 KB)
National Survey of Access to Public Antenatal Care Services 2012 (Word 339 KB)

National Survey of the Availability of Access to a Midwifery Carer for Postnatal Care Outside of the Hospital Setting

The National Survey of the Availability of Access to a Midwifery Carer for Postnatal Care Outside of the Hospital Setting reports on the results of the 2014 national survey to determine:
  • availability of access to a midwifery carer for postnatal care outside the hospital setting for at least two weeks after birth; and
  • identify possible mechanisms for providing midwifery postnatal care outside the hospital setting for at least two weeks after birth.
The findings indicate that women giving birth through the public sector and those in non-metropolitan areas were more likely to access a midwife in the community setting, and women experiencing continuity of midwife care were most likely to have access to a midwife for postnatal care outside the hospital setting.

National Survey of the Availability of Access to a Midwifery Carer for Postnatal Care Outside of the Hospital Setting (PDF 1767 KB)
National Survey of the Availability of Access to a Midwifery Carer for Postnatal Care Outside of the Hospital Setting (Word 1197 KB)

National Maternity Services Capability Framework

The National Maternity Services Capability Framework was endorsed by AHMAC in 2010 and published in 2013. It provides a rigorous methodology to assist in woman-centred maternity service planning and to improve risk management in maternity care.

National Maternity Services Capability Framework 2012

Improving maternity services in Australia: the report of the Maternity Services Review

This report presents the findings of the 2008 national review of maternity services that was led by the Commonwealth Chief Nurse and Midwifery Officer. The report canvassed a wide range of issues relevant to maternity services, including antenatal services, birthing options, post-natal services up to six weeks after birth, and peer and social support for women in the perinatal period.

Improving maternity services in Australia: the report of the Maternity Services Review (2009)


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander documentation

Birthing on Country 2016

The report titled; Guiding Principles for Developing a Birthing on Country Service Model and Evaluation Framework Phase 1 provides guidance on issues and considerations for the development of a Birthing on Country Service. This work took place under the National Maternity Services Plan and was endorsed by the Australian Health Minister’s Advisory Committee. The report can be accessed via the COAG website.

The characteristics of cultural competent maternity care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women

In 2013, AHMAC endorsed the Characteristics of Culturally Competent Maternity Care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women report. The purpose of the framework is to assist health services to maximise their effectiveness in providing maternity services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their families that are culturally sensitive and meet their needs, while ensuring safety and quality are maintained. A culturally competent workforce is recognised as a priority reform area in closing the gap in Indigenous life outcomes. The development of organisational, systemic and individual cultural competence is essential to ensure all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people using a health service are treated in a respectful and safe manner that secures their trust in the capacity of the service to meet their needs.

The characteristics of culturally competent maternity care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women (PDF) (2012)
The characteristics of culturally competent maternity care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women (Word) (2012)