Maternity group urges publicly funded home birthing

From For further information, please contact Melissa Maimann at Essential Birth Consulting.

Posted Wed Mar 4, 2009 1:36pm AEDT

An advocacy group on the New South Wales far south coast says recommendations in a Federal Government review of maternity services have not alleviated the strain on hospital maternity units ... The recommendations made in the report are positive overall, but ... an option for publicly-funded home birthing was not proposed.

... many local families and mothers want the option of home birthing, but are put off due to the high costs - ... around $3,000 to $5,000," she said.

The president of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, Dr Dennis Pashen, says he is unsure whether home birthing would occur.

"People have always got a personal choice as to how they have their delivery," he said.

"I think that was looked at very closely and there's some very [strong] advocates of home birthing."

Home birth is available privately through midwives who generally charge $4000 - $5000 in Sydney. The services are comprehensive. Typically, women can expect antenatal home visits for 1 - 2 hours, labour and birth at home, and postnatal care at home too, for up to 6 weeks. When you break down the cost of the home birth hour-for-hour of the midwife's time, the midwife may only earn $50 per hour. Private home birth services are very time-intensive - we like to form a really strong relationship with the women and families we care for.

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting.