Enhancing shared decision making

Deborah Pidd, a Doctor of Midwifery (Professional Doctorate) candidate, is passionate about improving the care of pregnant women who have previously experienced a traumatic birth

“Up to 40% of women experience their birth as psychologically traumatic,” she explains. “Some may feel too traumatised to have another baby despite previously planning to have more children.”

For these women, deciding to have another baby can trigger anxiety and dread about the birth, which impacts the wellbeing of the mother and baby.

“I have specialised in antenatal care as a clinician and a manager for 26 years,” she says. “I have seen the difficulties that women face following a traumatic birth – but I have also observed how women-centred care can have a transformational impact.”

Ms Pidd has completed a shared decision-making course and multiple degrees at La Trobe, including a Master in Midwifery.

Inspired by her clinical and tertiary education experiences, she is now researching how to enhance shared decision making between clinicians and women whose previous birth experience wasn’t women centred.

“In shared decision making, the clinician and patient work together to make decisions regarding care options," explains Ms Pidd. “It prioritises the lived experience of the patient and underpins women-centred care. It is essential to optimal health outcomes for women and their babies.”

“I am dedicated to improving care for women, and I hope that my research helps to upskill clinicians so that they can better support women during subsequent pregnancies.”

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