Interested in home birth, hospital birth or private midwifery care? Questions or comments? Email Melissa Maimann or call 0400 418 448. This is a UK article but it is just as relevant here in Australia. Birthing options here consist of a visit to the GP: "I'm pregnant"
"Great. Your due date is xxx."
Then the conversation generally moves to, "Do you have private health insurance?"
If yes: the woman has an automatic referral to a private obstetrician for birth in a private or public hospital.
If no private health insurance, the woman is referred to the nearest public hospital where options of care will be discussed with the woman at the booking appointment, but her chosen option will need to be approved at the next visit with an obstetrician. If the obstetrician deems the woman to be too high risk for her chosen model of care, she is - without choice - slotted into the obstetric clinic.
Women with and without private health insurance have the option of private midwifery care, for either a homebirth or a hospital birth. Even without visiting rights (which ought to be in place by early 2011 in NSW), women can have a private midwife attend all of their pregnancy and postnatal care and also birth with the woman in hospital. A hospital midwife would also be assigned to the woman - and medical care can be accessed quickly and safely at any point in the pregnancy and birth if needed. This model delivers excellent continuity of care to the woman and maximises safety and satisfaction with the pregnancy and birthing experience.
Anyway, now to the article:
Most mothers-to-be do not meet the midwives who will care for them during their labour before the birth, a study revealed today.
The poll of more than 5,300 new mothers also found only 18 per cent had one dedicated midwife caring for them during labour and 25 per cent saw four different carers.
It also found one in three pregnant women were left alone and worried at some point during or just after the birth.
Only 18 per cent of mothers to be were cared for by one dedicated midwife during their baby's birth
... 80 per cent of women were not aware of the four options of where to give birth ...
The choice of where to give birth should include at home, in a free-standing midwifery unit, in a midwifery unit connected to a hospital or in a hospital unit led by consultants.
... many services are ... seriously failing women in terms of giving them continuous support in labour and giving them a named midwife they can contact at any time ...