Home birth advocate slams health service check-up

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A ... home birth advocate says she cannot excuse the ... Area Health Service for calling in police to check on a pregnant woman.

Rochelle Allan, who wanted a home birth and did not want to be induced, was nearly 14 days overdue when she missed an obstetrics appointment.

... the police were sent to Ms Allan's home on Friday to conduct a "welfare check" because the midwives could not reach her by telephone.

... the actions of the hospital staff will not be investigated because they had the best intentions and were concerned for Ms Allan.

... a woman should be able to make her own birth choices without someone looking over her shoulder.

"The hospital, they're service providers, they're not a regulatory body for pregnant women," ...

"These checks ... they're not mandatory, so it's entirely up to that woman if she chooses to attend those hospital checks or not."

... Ms Allan had the baby at home ... with a private midwife.

Interesting situation. The hospital owes a duty of care to its patients. If it had failed to conduct a "welfare check" and the woman's baby had died, the news report would read that the hospital was grossly negligent and how could they allow this to happen? It's been my experience that these situations can be managed very well by the midwife and woman being upfront with the hospital about the intentions of the woman. When this happens, the hospital is satisfied that the woman is receiving care and sees no reason to send the police around. Some people have questioned the use of police services for this purpose however the hospital staff are generally not permitted to attend patient's homes in these circumstances.

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting 0400 418 448