Homing in on their birthright

For further information, contact Melissa Maimann at Essential Birth Consulting. Link to article

BY MARK BARBELIUK 24/03/2009

ADVOCATES of home births are calling on the Federal Government to reject a recommendation in its maternity service review that could see an end to babies being born outside hospitals and birthing centres from July next year.

Members of the Sutherland Shire Natural Birth Group said the proposed changes effectively took away a woman's right to choose how and where she gave birth.

The controversial section of the review involves indemnity of midwives.

The group said the proposed changes meant midwives could not obtain registration to practice without insurance ...

While the St George Hospital home birth service is covered by Medicare, the women describe it as inadequate, restrictive and unacceptable. [I have had several enquiries and bookings from women who have been disqualified from this program. Women are not cleared for home birth until they pass their 36-week GBS swab, along with all other compulsory tests. When you book a home birth with an independent midwife, you have more control. You do not have this right when you access a publicly-funded home birth program. Nor do you have any control over transfer to hospital].

Sally Dillon said the government-funded service had a strict screening process ...

Amber Johnstone said in the three years the St George Hospital service had run, about 50 babies had been delivered and the "success'' rate was 50 percent, meaning half the women who opted for home births ended up delivering their babies in hospital. [That's an appalling transfer rate. While a transfer rate is a good thing to have - it shows you practice safely - it should not be over 20%].

At present, private home births are not covered by Medicare and those who opt to deliver at home pay $4000-$5000, which includes pre and antenatal care. A standard vaginal in-hospital delivery starts at $5800.

Brian Nicholson said home births ... "It binds a family,'' he said. "I felt I was able to provide so much support and wasn't shoved to the side like I would have been in a hospital.

"A lot of the home birth experience is about being comfortable in your head,'' Ms Johnstone said.

"It's a far better experience.'' ... "Women who birth at home are less likely to have interventions including assisted deliveries and caesarean sections.

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting.