Aussie actor shares her story for women’s and newborn health conference

Jerusha Sutton, Jo Hunter and Zoe Naylor from Birth Time. The team is releasing a documentary next year which features a birth at Westmead Hospital.

As a midwife and a mum, Kate Pendlebury has seen the Westmead Hospital midwife caseload program from both sides of the coin.

On Friday it made her the perfect person – with six-month-old daughter Aurelia Vari in tow – to speak about the growth and success of the program’s social media space at the second annual Women’s and Newborn Health Conference.

Kate said she felt “inspired and rejuvenated” by the conference, which showcased the latest achievements and future direction of women’s and newborn services within Western Sydney Local Health District.

Westmead midwives Felicity Busz, Kate Pendlebury with six-month-old Aurelia, and Michelle Underwood.

“I’ve spent a lot of time at home with my daughter over the past six months, which has been wonderful but I do love my job,” Kate said.

“It’s really nice to come out with her, be with my colleagues and likeminded people, and have a good time in a really welcoming place where I can do things like breastfeed comfortably.”

Kate was able to have a natural breech birth at Westmead Hospital – one of the few hospitals in the state where such a birth is possible.

She was part of the midwife caseload program, which also drew praise from guest speakers including Zoe Naylor from Birth Time.

The second Women’s and Newborns Health Conference was made possible by a committee of dedicated women.

Best known for her role as Regan McLeod on McLeod’s Daughters, Zoe decided to use her profile as an actor to campaign for continuity of midwifery care following the birth of her second child.

“Birth is one of the most powerful rites of passage for women. It is one of the most life changing and life affirming experiences,” Zoe said.

“Birth Time is a movement and a documentary exploring what it would take for every woman to emerge from birth physically well and emotionally safe.

“One thing that makes a major difference is continuity of midwifery care, and Westmead Hospital is doing an exquisite job with its midwife group practice.”

The conference continues on Saturday, and WSLHD will also celebrate International Midwives Day on Sunday with a walk and picnic lunch at Parramatta Lakes for midwives and their families.