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February 2019

Group of people jpeg Galinjera midwife Merivale Hemsworth, research midwife Lynnelle Moran, Aleisha Hodgson and baby Harvey, woman’s journey project chief investigator Professor Helen McLachlan, obstetric consultant Lauren De Luca, Aboriginal health policy and planning manager Jacqui Watkins, Galinjera midwives Jacqui Webb and Ruby Kennedy-Mayne, Aboriginal maternity services co‑ordinator Sheree Steward and Western Health executive director of nursing Shane Crowe.

Aboriginal families benefit from maternity program

Having access to the Western Health’s Galinjera maternity program has had a profoundly positive effect on Aleisha Hodgson’s pregnancy, delivery and transition to motherhood.

The program, committed to providing gold standard continuity of midwifery care for Aboriginal families at Sunshine Hospital, has turned one.

‘Before I started with the program I found I was having a different midwife each time,’ Ms Hodgson said.

‘I was in a stressful position at work and was all-round a pretty stressed person.

‘My sister was worried that it was going to flow on into motherhood.

‘I think the program, and having midwife Merivale Hemsworth as support, helped me turn a 180 and just became this really calm and relaxed person.

‘And I think that’s had an effect on baby Harvey because he’s pretty chilled out.

‘The program was what helped me with all of that,’ Ms Hodgson said.

‘I didn’t have to re-explain everything.

‘When I met Merivale she said ‘OK, from now on it’s just me’ and I was just like ‘ohhhh.’

‘And she’s just so calming – and that really reflected on me and changed how I looked at everything.

‘And people often say ‘you seem so relaxed’ and I say ‘Merivale’ – that’s my answer.’

The Galinjera Maternity Program is made up of a small team of midwives, obstetricians and a designated social worker.