Hundreds protest homebirth restrictions

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

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is stripping away a woman's right to have her baby at home, protesters around the country have been told.

Hundreds of people have come together across Australia at 13 simultaneous rallies to protest against the government's planned overhaul of maternity care.

NSW Greens MP Lee Rhiannon told a crowd of about 100 in Sydney that access to a homebirth was a woman's right.

"We are in an extraordinary situation when a woman can choose to have a caesarean but she can't choose to have her children at home," ...

Ms Rhiannon said the government had succumbed to pressure from Australian Medical Association, which is opposed to home birthing.

The proposed new laws ... will require all midwives to be insured ... a two-year exemption will apply for up to 200 independent midwives, who are unable to gain insurance because it is no longer provided for home birthing.

They will also have to work in collaboration with a doctor - who will be able to override their decisions - to access Medicare, insurance and pharmaceutical benefits for homebirths.

... homebirth groups ... say the practice will be forced underground, a concern that was also highlighted in a recent Senate inquiry.

Christine Wrightson, who had two planned home births, one of which ended up being in hospital due to complications, told the crowd ... "I had one child in hospital and one was born at home - for both births we chose to be under the care of a privately practising midwife," Ms Wrightson said.

"This was because it was extremely important to me to minimise the chance of medical intervention as I strived to have a natural birth ...

Women choose private midwifery care for a variety of reasons, not only to birth at home. For some, it's to have a qualified advocate by their side in hospital, or to have extended postnatal care for 6 weeks, or to have antenatal consultations in their own home rather than attending the local hospital clinic. But for most women, the reason for having a private midwife is about the level of trust, security and confidence that develops over time.

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting 0400 418 448