Perinatal mental healthcare: Developing skills in midwifery students

Published:November 29, 2022DOI:


      Midwives have a pivotal role in screening for risk factors for mental illness and psychosocial vulnerabilities in women during the perinatal period. They also have a key responsibility to provide women with the appropriate resources to support their mental wellbeing. Midwives can lack confidence and/or feelings of competence regarding these skills.
      Care of women in the context of their perinatal mental health is a core midwifery skill that deserves practical learning during pre-registration education, just as the more ‘hands on’ skills such as abdominal palpation, labour and birth support or newborn examination. However, there is limited opportunity for students to gain clinical placement experiences that are specific to perinatal mental health (PMH).
      This discussion paper describes an innovative teaching and learning project that aimed to improve confidence in students’ ability to conduct screening, support, and referral of women experiencing mental ill health. The project involved the development of an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) and audio visual resources to support learning and teaching and clinical placement. Feedback was collected to inform the refinement of the first OSCE, and to assist in the design of the audio visual resources that are now displayed publicly on the Australian College of Midwives website at


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