Issue 7
Monday, 02 September 2019
Charles Darwin University
Speakers at the Midwifery conference organised by the Student Midwives in Darwin club
Speakers at the Midwifery conference organised by the Student Midwives in Darwin club

Empowering midwives in the NT

Excellence in midwifery took centre stage at the recent “Tips, Tricks and Tales” Midwifery Conference at Casuarina campus, organised by the Student Midwives in Darwin club.

One of the organisers, Ashlee Guerin said the students were excited to present an extraordinary mix of local and interstate speakers, who spoke on a wide range of topics.

“It was a rare opportunity in Darwin to hear from these professionals directly and we were all captivated,” she said.

Attended by CDU Midwifery staff, students and local midwives, there were plenty of new perspectives and practices to take away and implement. 

Music and art therapy researchers, Helena Anolak and Bec Watt travelled from Flinders University in Adelaide to share their work in perinatal mental health.

The pair played therapeutic music as they shared their research findings, the music forming a foundation as women communicated their thoughts and feelings through visual art, such as drawing and symbolisation.

The women said they felt that the form of expression positively impacted their wellbeing.

West Australian Belinda Jennings discussed the sad yet unavoidable aspect of midwifery, giving a powerful presentation on supporting women experiencing stillbirth.

NT-based midwives also presented. Monika Zdyb shared the wisdom of using “rebozo” (a long flat garment used by women in Mexico) during labour as a form of pain management.

Nicole Jackson spoke about hypnobirthing and effective breathing techniques. She highlighted the importance of the language used and the need to provide women with a range of tools for their birthing toolbox.

CDU Midwifery staff members, Professor Sue Kildea, Associate Professor Donna Hartz, Dr Sarah Ireland and Northern Institute Principal Research Fellow Elaine Lawurrpa Maypilama shared knowledge about Birthing on Country projects and Indigenous doulas (midwives).

Dr Ireland and Dr Maypilama emphasised that knowledge-sharing must be two-way. They said the use of Indigenous doulas was an invaluable tool to bring back traditions and strengthen culture.

The conference was also a fundraising event to help midwives in Bali attend the 32nd ICM Triennial Congress 2020 in Bali. Between the conference and a raffle held on the day the students raised more than $6000.