BMidwif Midwifery

Year of entry: 2022

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

Unit code NURS21220
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Full year
Offered by Nursing & Midwifery
Available as a free choice unit? No


It is an alarming fact that substandard care was responsible for 70% of direct maternal deaths in the United Kingdom (CMACE, 2011). This unit will provide a platform for student midwives to further develop their knowledge and skills on Intrapartum care by exploring the concept of “risk” as applied to the intrapartum period. The focus is on the role of the midwife when delivering care to women with complex medical conditions/complications that arise during labour and delivery. The students will enhance their existing knowledge/skills for normal labour and birth undertaken in Year 1. In this way, the context of care can be further explored across the spectrum of deviations from the normal to those women that are critically ill. Students will utilise a range of resources including research, government policies and national reports/guidelines in order to undertake appropriate risk assessments and engage strategies which promote safe standards of intrapartum, midwifery care. The Core Skills Framework requirement of annual updating in neonatal resuscitation will continue in this unit.


  • Explore and critically analyse the evidence base surrounding the care of women with complex medical conditions/complications during the intrapartum period.
  • Enable student midwives to enhance their existing knowledge and skills surrounding intrapartum care in order to meet the complex midwifery needs of women with complications during the intrapartum period.

Teaching and learning methods

The unit will be delivered over two semesters utilising a range of teaching/learning approaches, these will include: keynote lectures, seminars, tutorials, case scenarios, directed study via online material and self- directed learning. These methods will facilitate an equitable approach to learning which will enable the 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 medical needs. Thus, students will identify, review and disseminate information relevant to the main medical conditions/complications affecting women in the intrapartum period. The students will utilise the knowledge gained from teaching/learning to inform their supervised practice in the clinical area and aid in the achievement of the NMC pre-registration midwifery, clinical domains.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the major medical conditions associated with the developments of intrapartum complications.
  • Critically analyse the role of the midwife when caring for women with complex midwifery care needs during labour and delivery.
  • Critically analyse approaches to risk assessment for women with complications in the intrapartum period.
  • Critically analyse the evidence base which underpins the planning of individualised care for women with medical complications.
  • Demonstrate sound reasoning for legal and ethical decision making within the context of care for women with complicated labours and deliveries.

Intellectual skills

  • Identify the major medical conditions/complications affecting women in the intrapartum period.
  • Identify the risk factors associated with the main medical conditions affecting women in the intrapartum period
  • Select, from a range of resources those approaches that are the most effective in promoting the safest outcomes for women with intrapartum complications and develop a rationale for these approaches
  • Identify the specific role and responsibilities of the midwife when delivering care to women with complex medical needs in the intrapartum period.

Practical skills

  • Critically review the common risk factors associated with intrapartum complications and promote timely, appropriate and safe strategies for referral and management.
  • Devise appropriate individualised care plans and offer a rationale for their implementation.
  • Identify the key benchmarks for a range of critical, clinical observations during the intrapartum period and justify the use of these observations.
  • Critically review the professional accountability of the midwife in delivering safe, high quality care in order to minimise the risk outcomes in childbirth.
  • Critically assess clinical scenarios for women with intrapartum complications, identify the priority care pathways and instigate high standards of maternity care.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Demonstrate effective communication skills with women, their families and the multi-disciplinary team; both verbal and written where appropriate.
  • Demonstrate the principles of professional accountability with respect to the delivery of midwifery care; promoting, consent, advocacy and confidentiality as and when appropriate.
  • Demonstrate tools required for effective problem solving and decision-making where complex situations arise.
  • Effectively utilise a range of learning resources including information technology.
  • Demonstrate numeracy and literacy.

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 25
Practical classes & workshops 3
Seminars 7
Tutorials 5
Placement hours
Placement 142.5
Independent study hours
Independent study 127

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Catherine Anders Unit coordinator

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