IT'S the middle of the night and Hervey Bay mum Rossalin Van Tent is searching her symptoms online.

It was her first pregnancy and things did not feel quite right.

The thought runs through her mind: "Am I going into early labour?"

Unsure of what to do, Ms Van Tent found help was just a phone call away.

She is one of the 859 Fraser Coast women across the past five years who have used the Hervey Bay Hospital's Midwifery Group Practice.

 

Thankfully, Ms Van Tent was not in early labour after all, but she said the midwife program was a godsend all the same.

"They helped with everything - making sure that baby was OK even while I was pregnant and making sure I was OK by keeping up with my health and safety," Ms Van Tent said.

"Having a first child is a daunting prospect but they were really really good with that.

"They were always there, even if it was the middle of the night, they were happy to call us up and help us out with anything."

The team of eight nurses in the MGP celebrated its fifth birthday yesterday.

Launching in 2014, MGP services the entire Fraser Coast.

Expecting and new mums receive support from one midwife - or a small group of midwives - throughout her pregnancy, labour, birth and postnatal care.

Clinical midwife Margie Thomas said MGP aimed to give women and families continuity of care.

She emphasised the value of getting to know a midwife and developing a relationship to help achieve better health outcomes.

"Improving outcomes means less intervention, like women are more likely to have a vaginal birth rather than a caesarean," Ms Thomas said.

"For first-time mums, it's about supporting them, being able to listen to what is happening in their own home, help with breastfeeding problems, parenting advice, teaching basic parenting skills and give them the best opportunity to adjust to parenting life.

"We do become a part of the family unit."

MGP is considered best practice for maternity care, and is offered to women with low to moderate risk factors who want to have a natural birth.

A general practitioner referral is required for the service, which manages about 25 per cent of total births at Hervey Bay Hospital.

The MPG team is aiming to lift this rate to 30 per cent in the next year.

Ms Van Tent is one of the 82 women who returned to the MGP for their second pregnancy.

Five have returned for their third.

"I can't imagine going through pregnancy without them," Ms Van Tent said.



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