TWICE as many women are choosing to give birth at home, the latest statistics show. The number of home births increased from ... 0.2 per cent of births - in 1997 to ... 0.5 per cent of births - in 2007. Birth groups said women were turning away from hospitals because of bad experiences and choosing home birth as the "gold standard". The Advertiser revealed recently at one Adelaide hospital about six out of 10 births are by caesarean section ... "And women are aware if they birth in hospital they're birthing on a clock, so the only way they can get what they want is by having the baby at home," she said. HBN of SA co-ordinator Tanya Bingham said families were looking for a better way after "unsatisfactory experiences" in hospital. "Home birth I almost think you could define as the absolute gold standard in maternity care. You've got one-on-one attention," she said ... local groups said there needed to be a clearer distinction between "free birthing", where no health professionals are involved, and responsible home birthing ... Forty women gave birth in 2007 after having no contact with health professionals ... two babies died.
It's important that private / independent midwives are able to care for women in hospitals as well as at home. Under this model, women could have "high risk" births in hospital with complete continuity of care and "gold standard" service and care. Rather than be subjected to interventions that have not been found to be beneficial, and may even be harmful. Low risk women could birth at home with a midwife, under the same "gold standard" service and care. For some women, it's all about place of birth; for others, it's about continity of care, choice and control. The same service and care needs to be available to women regardless of place of birth.