Thursday, April 21, 2011

No More Home Births?

While in my last semester at University, I wrote an article on Home Births.  Anna Rummey kindly gave up some of her time to answer a few questions I had on the topic, and I put together a piece for my final assignment on feature writing. 

So here is the link, please let me know your thoughts. I've also included the story below.

Would you ever decide to have a Home Birth?
Do you think they are unsafe?
Or, do you sit on the fence?

No More Home Births?

While private practice midwives have been covered by government-supported professional indemnity insurance since June last year, homebirth services remain uninsured.

A midwife cannot be registered unless she has insurance under the draft Health Practitioner Regulation National Law. This state of affairs pains Sydney couple Anna and Chris Rummey, whose midwife guided the delivery of their baby Rosemary in their own home.

“The choice that women and their partners have for how they bring their child into the world is no longer available to them,” Ms Rummey said.

“If a healthy woman can choose to have abdominal surgery to birth her child, why can’t she choose to have a safe, attended natural birth in her own home?”

Rummey said the days leading up to Rosemary’s birth included regular antenatal care appointments with their midwife in their own home, calls to query any cramps or movement she was experiencing and relaxing dinners with friends to celebrate the near arrival of baby Rosemary.

On the day Rosemary was born, Anna and her husband visited their favourite cafe and, while inside, made the call to their midwife to let her know Anna’s labour was beginning. Hours later their midwife had arrived and facilitated an experience described by Ms Rummey as “a blessing that she let us labour by ourselves for as long as we needed, calling her with updates”.

After checking the baby’s heart rate and focusing on Ms Rummey, their midwife soothed her and guided the expectant mother through the contractions that finally brought Rosemary into her arms in a birth she says was “as close to mother nature as you could be”.

Having had such a positive experience with their midwife-assisted home birth, the Rummeys are concerned government restrictions on homebirths are taking away this option for others.

“Hospital births may be right for some people and that’s their choice, but this is ours,” they said.

“I wanted to have a natural birth and for me the best possible chance of doing that was at home, If that couldn’t happen and I had to go to the hospital for any intervention, then at least I knew it was really because I had to, not just because I was bullied into it.”

Homebirth Australia secretary Justine Caines said the fact private midwives are not covered by the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme is taking the choice of having a midwife-assisted home birth away from couples like the Rummeys.

“Women who choose homebirth are the only health consumers without the protection of indemnity insurance

“Homebirth midwives have consistently been denied premium support. As a developed country Australia is out of step with other nations such as Canada, UK, New Zealand and The Netherlands, which offer public funded homebirth.”

The midwifery philosophy of JCU, according to lecturer for the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Nutrition Adele Baldwin, is to support women with their individual choice of type of maternity care.

“We recognise pregnancy as a wellness state,” said Ms Baldwin.

“Our philosophy is to support the woman to birth safely in whichever environment she chooses, rather than dictate the environment based on subjective data.

“Our courses prepare midwives to provide midwifery care across the continuum in any setting including home, community and hospital.”

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  1. Personally as I plan the near future of me having children (I'm not pregnant, but we do want children soon)... I know I would feel well 'safer' I guess in a hospital, I know all precautions are taken before home births but to me I would feel the situation was a little more controlled in a hospital if something was to go wrong. So personally I would never really consider a home birth. At the end of the day to me I think I will just want my baby out (hopefully as quickly & painlessly as possible!) & with me. I think people should still be able to choose though what they wish to do & that private midwifes should be covered...
    Good article Meghan :)

  2. Great article, as always. Personally, I would also feel safer having my baby in a hospital, just incase something was to go wrong. But I wouldn't judge women who choose to have homebirths, and I definitely think women should be allowed to choose. And who knows, my opinion may change when I am ready to have children.

  3. Thanks ladies! Great comments...I think with all the different opinions out there regarding different pregnancy plans, breastfeeding and the stance on natural or cesarean births, the main point is that women should have the right to choose what makes them comfortable for their own pregnancy.