Scene One: Phone call

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Waiting for a phone call Image by Sarah Stewart. Second Life build by Aaron Griffiths for the SLENZ project. CC By

This lesson should take approximately 60 minutes and is appropriate for senior midwifery students, as well as anyone interested in childbirth. With a partner you will work your way through a scenario that focuses on the phone call that a pregnant woman makes to the birth unit when she is in early labour, and the midwife's response to it. This scenario is designed to support you to think about midwifery assessment and actions, decision-making and sharing information when you are talking to women on the telephone.


  • Computer and Internet with access to Second Life
  • Basic ability to use Second Life and access the virtual birth unit
  • Resource Pack that can be found in the meeting room on the first floor of the birth unit.
  • Midwife's self-assessment form and script for woman.
  • Extra resources to support this scenario either as links or printed handouts:

Self-assessment form for midwife

Use this self-assessment form to assess your performance, reflect on what you did well and what you can improve in the future.

Script for woman

Here is the information about the last few hours for you to pass onto the midwife, along with your background story as and when it is appropriate or relevant. Feel free to ad lib a little but please keep everything ‘normal’.

The idea of this exercise is for the midwife to assess your condition over the phone, and make a judgment about what is the right course of action to take. Please feel free to share information with the midwife as and when it is appropriate. Wait until the midwife asks you questions – don’t give out all the information at once. You do not have to remember all this information – we have provided it to get you ‘in character’. The midwife will be provided with your pregnancy notes that have a lot of this information provided. Feel free to ask questions which you think will help to test the midwife's knowledge of normal childbirth

Further information about your thoughts about birth can be found in your birth plan which can be found in your pregnancy notes.

  • Start and finish of the scene
To start the scene, ring the midwife and start a conversation. Tell her you think you are in early labour and you want her advice on whether you should stay at home or come to the birth unit. Finish the scene when you are happy all your questions have been answered and end the phone call.
  • Contractions
You started getting contractions three hours ago 1:15 minutes. They started like period pains, all in your back. They are now 1:10 minutes, lasting 30 seconds. You can talk very easily through them. They feel like severe period pains when they come. They are bad enough to make it difficult to relax properly.<br
  • General health
Usually you don’t have any problems with passing urine but over the last couple of hours you have been on and off the toilet but it doesn’t hurt when you pass urine. You have had a couple of bouts of diarrhea today but you think that was because of the curry you had for supper yesterday. You have been very slightly nauseated all day so have only been snacking as opposed to eating regular meals. You don’t think your waters have broken. You have been wearing a thin sanitary pad and have noticed a small amount of mucusy jelly-like substance on the pad the last time you went to the toilet, but there has been no blood in it.
  • How you feel
Your husband is away on work at the moment but you have a girl friend, Sally, who lives just around the corner who can keep you company if you need it. You are excited about possibly being in labour but are a little anxious about what to expect. You want to stay at home as long as you can.

Here are some questions you may wish to ask.

  • When will I have my baby?
  • When shall I come to the birth unit?
  • What can I take for pain relief? Is it alright to take Panadol?
  • What should I do if my waters break?
  • How will I know if my waters have broken?
  • What should I do if the baby starts to come and I am all alone at home?

Learning objectives

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the role of the midwife in the normal childbirth process.
  • Demonstrate effective evidence based, midwifery practice guided by a sound knowledge base.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of significance of concepts of accountability, responsibility and independent practice as they relate to midwifery practice in New Zealand.

Instructions for Scene One - Phone Call

Click here for instructions for Scene One - Phone Call