Homebirth is not illegal!

Interested in home birth, hospital birth or private midwifery care? Questions or comments? Email Melissa Maimann or call 0400 418 448. I was sad to read this article in the papers yesterday (although I love the beautiful homebirth photo that it included!)

The article is entitled, "Homebirth Laws Confusion" and only served to increase the confusion about homebirth.

Homebirth is not illegal. Nor will it be after July 1 this year.

MIDWIVES attending home births in Tasmania could be liable for misconduct prosecution after July 1.

The article stated that, "Australian Nursing Federation state secretary Neroli Ellis said the changes meant midwives who continued attending home births could be open to misconduct liability legal action."

The reported interviewed a well-known and experienced midwife who was quoted as saying, "The new regulations are meant to take effect from July 1 but there is nothing in place and we have no idea what we are meant to do" ... She said she suspected the regulations were a backdoor way of banning home births.

The ANF is only correct *if* the midwife practices homebirth without insurance. So long as the midwife has insurance for pregnancy and postnatal care, it is perfectly legal for midwives to continue to attend births.

There may be some issues with insurance: - The policy is quite expensive, especially for midwives with low caseloads, and costs for homebrith are expected to increase - The insurance policy requires that the woman books into a hospital and that the midwife shares with the hospital a maternity care plan for the woman - in the interests of safety - The insurance policy demands that the midwife works to evidence-based guidelines and best practice.

But ... so long as these conditions are met, homebirth is, and remains, perfectly legal.

Women having homebirths need to know that there is no insurance for the actual birth. Pregnancy and postnatal care is covered by insurance. You can expect to sign a form stating that your midwife has told you about this fact and that the have understood this.

All births will be reported to the Health Department - already a legal requirement.

As well as this, midwives will need to adhere to a Quality and Safety Framework. This Franework is in the hands of the Nursing and Midwifery Board at the moment and until it is placed in a code or guideline, it is not intended to be folowed. Indeed, we only have a final draft, so cannot follow it as it has not been released.

The bottom line is: homebirth is not illegal!!

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting 0400 418 448