Workforce shortages in rural maternity services threaten the sustainability of birthing in rural hospitals. More than half of rural maternity units have closed since 1992.

Closing maternity services has significant consequences for women and their communities, with resulting poorer health outcomes and financial and social hardships.

The RBRC evaluated a new midwifery continuity of care model that brought together clinicians and five birthing hospitals to deliver maternity services to women in the York and northern region of South Australia.

The service model involved the allocation of a midwife and secondary backup midwife throughout pregnancy, birth, and the postnatal period, providing continuity of care.

We found the midwifery continuity of care service model to be effective, acceptable, and sustainable in promoting quality care.

Following the evaluation, the model was commissioned and is being implemented across regional and rural South Australia.