Baby born home, alone

Visit my website to explore home birth, hospital birth and Medicare-funded private midwifery care.


Before reading the article, it needs to be said that home birth is still legal. Even though it is not covered by insurance, it is legal for women to be attended by a registered midwife in private practice.

NICHOLE Lee-Yidaki's dream of giving birth to her baby at home came a little too late for the Northern Rivers' small home-birth industry.

So she decided to go it alone.

When the Federal Government last year tightened insurance regulations around home-birth midwives, the industry warned it risked opening the way for “free-birthers” – women who chose to bear their babies at home regardless of whether they had a midwife to help them.

The changes make it impossible for home-birth midwives to get medical indemnity insurance and effectively ban them from overseeing births at women's homes.

Ms Lee-Yidaki said she would have preferred to have a midwife to help welcome her son, Aquil, into the world in the kitchen of her Main Arm home two-and-a-half weeks ago, but she had no regrets about choosing “free-birthing” over a hospital birth.

... Ms Lee-Yidaki was helped through the birth by a doula – a professional supporter – but without a midwife because it has become nigh-on impossible to get a home-birth midwife on the Northern Rivers since legal changes last year made it almost impossible for them to operate.

... in most cases mums could only get a private midwife to look after them before and after labour, but not through the birth itself.

... University of Technology Sydney midwifery professor Caroline Homer warned in 2009 “free-birthing” would be the “worst-case scenario” resulting from the Federal Government's legal changes.

Ms Lee-Yidaki's “worst-case scenario” was being unable to give birth at home ...

Midwives are able to attend home births and home birth is legal. The issue is that insurance is unaffordable to some midwives with small practices. Doulas provide support at births that are attended by a midwife , but doulas do not provide professional care. Reputable doula organisations stipulate that a doula must not attend a home birth without the presence of a midwife.

Freebirth is on the increase, with some reports suggesting that unattended home birth is outnumbering midwife-attended homebirth.