BMidwif Midwifery

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
Midwifery care for complex needs (pregnancy)

Unit code NURS21210
Credit rating 30
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Nursing & Midwifery
Available as a free choice unit? No


Despite advances in maternity care, women and babies continue to suffer ill-health or death as a result of complications occurring during pregnancy. Successive maternal and perinatal mortality reports have identified substandard midwifery care as a factor contributing to poor outcomes. Building on learning achieved in relation to normal pregnancy during Year 1, this unit will review the concept of ‘risk’ and risk assessment during pregnancy. Students will be introduced to pre-existing conditions and lifestyle factors which may threaten maternal and fetal wellbeing in pregnancy. The identification and management of common medical and obstetric complications will be reviewed, to facilitate in depth understanding of the need for flexible, responsive care for women with complex pregnancies. The role of the midwife in caring for the increasing number of pregnant women needing critical care will also be explored. The wider context of care will be considered, through focus on psychosocial, ethical, legal and governance issues associated with caring for women with complex needs.
Students will be introduced to the learning outcomes related to attendance on gynaecology and medical placements that will be completed during year 2 and monitored by their academic advisor. The Core Skills Framework requirement of annual updating in adult and neonatal resuscitation will continue in this unit.


  • Develop students’ understanding of the impact of pregnancy complications on women and families’ journeys through pregnancy.
  • Enhance students’ abilities to critically analyse antenatal clinical scenarios and understand the role of the midwife in identification of deviation from normal, appropriate referral and provision of ongoing care to minimise poor pregnancy outcomes.

Teaching and learning methods

This unit will be taught over one semester, utilising a combination of approaches. These will include formal lectures, seminars; directed online engagement with materials and student-led enquiry based learning (EBL) based on clinical scenarios. These methods will facilitate an equitable approach to learning enabling students to examine a range of evidence, explore the quality benchmarks for appropriate risk assessment and have a sound knowledge of the most appropriate referral mechanisms and management strategies for women with complex needs. Thus, students will identify, review and disseminate evidence relevant to the main risk factors, medical conditions and complications affecting women in pregnancy. Students will utilise the knowledge gained from teaching/learning to inform their supervised clinical practice and aid achievement of the NMC pre-registration midwifery clinical domains.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate in-depth understanding of the major risk factors and conditions associated with the development of complications in pregnancy.
  • Critically analyse the role of the midwife in risk assessment during pregnancy, identification of deviation from normal and appropriate referral.
  • Critically analyse the role of the midwife in minimising the risk of poor outcomes for women and babies throughout the antenatal period.
  • Critically analyse the evidence base supporting care pathways for women with complex pregnancies.
  • Demonstrate comprehension of the moral, ethical and legal issues influencing provision of care for women with complex pregnancies.

Intellectual skills

  • Identify the major risk factors underlying the development of complications during pregnancy
  • Discuss the main causes and conditions associated with poor outcomes arising during the antenatal period
  • From the range of alternatives, identify the most appropriate package of care to promote positive outcomes with a clear rationale for decision making
  • Discuss the specific roles and responsibilities of the midwife in caring for women with identified complications during the antenatal period

Practical skills

  • Critically review common risk factors and causes of complicated pregnancy by researching relevant and accessible evidence.
  • Critically evaluate antenatal scenarios to promote early identification and appropriate referral for women at risk.
  • Formulate effective, sensitive midwifery care plans, for ongoing care during the antenatal period and clearly explain the underpinning rationale.
  • Critically review the professional accountability of the midwife in providing quality care to minimise adverse outcomes during pregnancy.


Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Demonstrate professional accountability with respect to the delivery of midwifery care; promoting, consent, advocacy and confidentiality as and when appropriate.
  • Demonstrate effective verbal and written communication with women, their families and within the multidisciplinary team
  • Demonstrate ability to engage in effective problem solving and decision-making where complex situations arise.
  • Effectively utilise a range of information sources including information technology and health informatics.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 50%
Practical skills assessment 50%

Feedback methods

Students will normally have the opportunity to receive feedback on formative work submitted prior to the summative assessment. Other feedback opportunities will also be available in class and online discussion boards. Online feedback is provided in Grademark. Provisional feedback based on internal marking will be made available prior to the Exam Board on the basis that these marks are yet to be ratified at the Exam Board and therefore may be subject to change. A standard feedback mechanism in Grademark is utilised across all undergraduate programmes within the School which provides detailed and constructive feedback on each component and aspect of assessment and identifies areas of strength and those aspects which could be enhanced.

Student feedback is obtained through open discussion forums on Blackboard, in class discussions, via formal University unit evaluation forms and also qualitative, in house evaluations at the end of the unit. 

Recommended reading

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 39
Practical classes & workshops 3
Seminars 3
Tutorials 1
Placement hours
Placement 142.5
Independent study hours
Independent study 111.5

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Elizabeth Nocton Unit coordinator

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