The author of this article has got the facts very wrong, but none-the-less, it's great to get home birth and midwifery in the media.
THE Rudd Government's threatened ban on home births is moving closer to reality ...
From July 1 next year, the requirements of a new registration scheme mean independent midwives – long denied medical indemnity insurance – will be fined $30,000 if they practice without it. This finishes their ability to work outside the hospital system.
Midwives will not be fined $30,000. Midwives who practice without insurance may be deregistered. If we continue to practice midwifery once we're deregistered, we face fines and/or a jail term. This is the same rule that applies to anyone who practices midwifery without registration.
... Where to give birth, and who attends, is a medical decision. If a pregnant woman is competent and informed, it is her decision to make. Australian law allows patients to choose who will treat them and where, and even to refuse interventions – like transfusions – that medicos deem life-saving.
Again, I disagree. The decision about where to give birth rests with the woman and the professional who is attending her. This may be a doctor (in which case, the decision is medical). However, for the majority of women birthing at home, the decision is a midwifery decision.
This means that even if evidence showed that hospital births were life-saving, pregnant women could still refuse them. Given that the evidence shows no such thing, this right seems even stronger.
A recent article in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology looked at 529,688 cases and found no difference in the health of babies born at home to low-risk women and those born in hospital. Another large study found that the only difference in outcomes favoured home birth, which produced babies with higher Apgar scores, and showed home births were less likely than hospital births to result in unnecessary and risky medical interventions, such as induced and augmented labour, forceps delivery and caesarean sections.
... Denying independent midwives registration won't stop women from birthing at home. It will simply increase the risks they take doing so. It will be backyard abortion all over again – complete with shonky providers, death and suffering – except this time it's backyard birth.
The mantra that birth is simply a normal part of a woman's life is rubbish. It is an extraordinary event that most women will face just a few times. They need medical guidance, in the form of proper pre-natal care to know if home birth is a safe option for them.
Professional, experienced, independent midwives can offer this advice, and a safe and secure environment for low-risk women who birth at home.
Again, it is midwifery guidance, not medical guidance. If doctors supervised home births, there would be no home births.