Women may 'go it alone' on home births

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A campaign group has warned that some women may opt for home births without professional care as a result of problems with indemnity insurance for qualified home-birth midwives.

The Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services-Ireland (AIMS) says proposed new midwifery legislation will in effect make it illegal for a home birth midwife to provide antenatal and birth care if the pregnant woman's circumstances do not meet criteria set in a current memorandum of understanding which midwives have to sign ...

... the memorandum, which will be used in the legislation, outlines the criteria for State indemnity insurance cover for midwives in home births but these criteria were too restrictive.

... AIMS says the restrictive criteria could lead to midwives becoming uninsured in the middle of a home birth should the mother's clinical circumstances change.

Midwives attending women having home births could face could face fines or imprisonment or both if they are found in breach of the new legislation ...

... a growing number of women who do not want to attend maternity hospitals are saying that if professional midwife-led home birth services are not available to them, they will "go it alone" with their home birth without professional care providers ...

I believe Australia will head down this same path in 2 years' time when the exemption for homebirth insurance runs out. I foresee that homebirth will be funded and indemnified, albeit with strict criteria for homebirth.

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting 0400 418 448