Monash Womens & Newborn Program

 A/Prof Ryan Hodges

Program Director of Women’s & Newborn and Monash Health Head of Obstetrics 

Ryan believes it is important to optimise his patients’ health during pregnancy to ensure their newborns have the best start to life. Ryan completed his obstetric and gynaecology training at Monash Medical Centre and his PhD in fetal therapy and stem cell biology at Monash University. After completing his PhD, Ryan was awarded an NHMRC grant to study in utero surgery in Belgium. He was then invited to undertake training in maternal fetal medicine certification at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Canada. He is a surgeon with the Victorian Fetal Therapy Service, providing in utero laser surgery for complicated monochorionic twins.

In his role as Head of Perinatal Services at Monash Health, Ryan lead the high-risk pregnancy program caring for mothers with severe health problems, babies with abnormalities or growth problems, multiple pregnancies and babies requiring in utero fetal therapy and surgery.

Karen Sawyer

Clinical Midwife Consultant  | Practice Enhancement | RM RN BA (Hons) Midwifery Practice Dip HE (Nursing Studies) University of York

Originally trained in different facilities in North Yorkshire and following registration worked predominately in gynaecology services before becoming a midwife. Karen moved to Australia early in February 2005 and initially worked in the private sector. Karen's employment with Monash Health commenced in December 2006 as a midwife, clinical coach midwifery and then Associate Unit Manager. This new position will facilitate staff development in the team structures and demonstrate the highest possible level of woman-centred care within a multi-disciplinary framework. The aim is to support team leaders and educators to harness and nurture enthusiasm for midwives to safely practice across the full scope of practice.

Kerrie Papacostas

Midwifery Coordinator | Monash Health

Kerrie is responsible for supporting maternity clinical governance, strategy, planning and midwifery practice standards. Kerrie has experience as a clinical midwife in numerous hospitals over a 35 year career including; Monash Medical Centre, Moorabbin, Dandenong, Benalla and Sale. She was Midwifery Manager of the Moorabbin 'GP Midwife Unit' for over a decade, and the Moorabbin Birth Centre 1998 until 2003. Kerrie is a member of many committees and has chaired the Monash Health Maternity Guideline Development Committee for the past 10 years. In 2012 she received the Southern Health Midwifery Award – Leadership achievement. Kerrie's passion is supporting informed choices for women; improving continuity of care and carer and evidence informed practice. She has been an integral leader in the development and implementation of the new maternity service directions.

Prof Christine East

Professor of Midwifery | Co-Director of Monash Women’s Maternity Services | RN, RM, DipApplSc(Clin Nurs), BApplSc(Nurs), Grad Cert Heatlh Studies, Grad Cert Univ Teaching, MMedSc, PhD

Chris’ appointment to Monash University and Monash Health represents a unique model linking university and hospital midwifery. Chris' career encompasses clinical midwifery, research and university teaching / higher degree supervision. Ongoing research projects include fetal welfare surveillance, pregnancy care and systematic reviews of evidence, with significant competitive grant support. She also supervises a number of research higher degree candidates. Since joining Monash Health in early 2012, Chris has provided leadership in clinical governance and represented midwifery at executive nursing and midwifery level. Her vision for Monash Health midwifery is to integrate education, research and clinical services, with all activities having a woman-centred focus.

Maternity Services

Monash Women's maternity service is part of Monash Health. Monash Health provides health care across south eastern Melbourne, uniquely integrating in one organisation primary, secondary and tertiary health services, as well as world renowned research and teaching facilities. Monash Health has a role in specialist care for greater Melbourne, regional Victoria and interstate.

Our maternity service is the largest maternity provider in Victoria providing care to over 9,000 women each year across three hospitals: Monash Medical Centre, Dandenong and Casey. Monash Women's provides maternity care for well women and women with more complex and specialty needs. Monash Medical Centre provides tertiary level maternity care, with pregnancy assessment and fetal diagnostic units, adult and neonatal intensive care situated on-site.
This integrated service structure provides one of Australia’s safest levels of maternity care.

Monash Women’s has a range of allied health services for women including physiotherapy, social work and interpreters. These services are provided on referral from the team clinicians.

Monash Women's is affiliated with Monash University and a number of other universities for research and training.  We provide training and clinical placement for trainee doctors and midwives as part of their university requirements.

Monash Health offers women three (3) pathways for pregnancy care:

1. within a clinic at one of our three hospital sites

2. shared care with the hospital and an affiliated GP or midwife in the community

3. non hospital with a specialist obstetrician in the community

Where possible you will be booked to birth at your local hospital unless you or your baby require a higher level of care.

We are committed to women-centered, collaborative care underpinned by the following principles:


women and families are partners in planning and care decisions


care is provided close to home - where possible


keeping mothers and babies together is a priority in care


continuity of care and carer - where possible


multidisciplinary, collaborative teams which consistently care for women throughout pregnancy, birth and postnatally


midwives have the opportunity to work full scope of practice - working in all areas of maternity care


collaborative education, training and supervision for all clinicians to ensure a high level commitment to ongoing professional development


achieving the highest standards of quality, safety and evidence-based practice


equity for all women


Continuity of care?
Research shows that continuity of care and carer improves women's experiences and outcomes. All women are allocated to a maternity team at booking.

How do the team's work? 
All teams have a shared leadership (midwife and obstetrician) to provide a comprehensive collaborative approach to pregnancy, birth and postnatal care. For a woman experiencing a pregnancy where there is no anticipated problem this may mean that most of that care is provided by a primary level care provider (i.e. midwife or GP). If complications arise the obstetrician or other specialist medical staff from your team will provide consultation and advice. If a woman experiences a pregnancy where there are maternal or fetal complications the majority of care will be with specialist team medical staff, with midwives providing midwifery care as required.

The maternity teams have been named after gemstones and are aligned with a colour.

Monash Medical Centre has five teams: Amethyst (purple), Opal (light blue), Topaz (magenta), Amber (orange) and Emerald (light green).

Dandenong Hospital has three teams: Turquoise (aqua) Jade (dark green) and Rose Quartz (pink)

Casey Hospital has three teams: Diamond (cream), Ruby (red), and Sapphire (blue).

What does this mean for women?
Continuity of care within teams will enable women greater consistency in care throughout pregnancy, birth and the postnatal stay. Women will have increased opportunity to see clinicians they have met before (doctor, midwife and allied health) during their pregnancy visits at the hospital, in labour, birth and postnatal period. 

If you have other queries or feedback please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions section of this website.