Gold Coast birth centre: Closed at short notice; now open

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MUM power has forced the re-opening of the Gold Coast Hospital's Birth Centre which closed without notice on Thursday, leaving mothers-to-be out in the cold.

The deaths of three newborn babies is believed to be behind the closure -- but yesterday about 300 women took to the street to protest against it.

Their action triggered crisis talks and last night Queensland Health backflipped, announcing the centre would re-open for the weekend and discussions on its future would resume on Monday.

The two natural birthing suites in the centre, which is separate to the hospital's labour ward, were closed without notice at 5pm on Thursday.

Griffith University's Bachelor of Midwifery convenor Dr Kerry Peart said one woman was in labour when an obstetrician came in and said the suite was closed and the woman and her midwife had to move.

... some specialist obstetricians had raised concerns about the safety of the birth centre ...

"The birth centre is not closing and we are committed to the birth centre model ... we made a decision based on clinical safety to modify that model of care while we made absolutely certain that women and babies of the Gold Coast were safe," he said.

... following meetings with clinicians, midwives and mothers-to-be yesterday the centre would continue to operate under the agreed model of care until at least Monday evening.

Australian College of Midwives president Jenny Gamble ... said there had been three birth centre-related cases in recent months when babies had died ... outside the centre and while under further medical care.

A midwife at the hospital ... said none of the midwives' practices had been reviewed or investigated and they wanted an explanation as to what the safety concerns were.

"... these complications happen in any of the normal suites anyway." ...

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting 0400 418 448