Advocates defend their rights for homebirths

Interested in home birth, hospital birth or private midwifery care? Questions or comments? Email Melissa Maimann or call 0400 418 448. Link

THEY were defending their right to give birth at home ... Across the country hundreds of women held rallies ...

Homebirth supporters claim doctors and the Government are taking away the rights of women.

Under the proposed Bill ... doctors will have the final say if a woman can have a homebirth supervised by a midwife. Previously, private midwives could assist in a homebirth without a doctor's consent but could not access Medicare rebates.

Passionate homebirth advocate Andrea Smith ... said, "We should have the right to choose however we want to birth." ...

After July, midwives will need to work collaboratively with doctors. This will be the case if we are to attend homebirths or if our clients wish to access Medicare benefits for our services.

Collaborative arrangements have not yet been defined so it is hard to say at this stage how they might look. It's almost certain that high risk homebirths will be off the cards, so no breeches, twins, VBACs, post term or preterm women, or those with high blood pressure or problems in the pregnancy will be able to have a home birth. Women are concerned that these changes will limit their right to a home birth, but the government is concerned for the provision of safe homebirth services. These new laws do not actually prevent "high risk" women from accessing home birth, they just restrict the ability of the midwife to attend them by legistating that midwives will only be able to attend low-risk homebirths.

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting 0400 418 448