Thursday, August 12, 2010

Homebirth a matter of choice for Australian women

See this media release by the Greens

Australian Greens Health spokesperson, Senator Rachel Siewert has today announced the Greens’ policy for a National Homebirth reform package to provide women with greater choice at the time of their baby’s birth.

“We believe the choice to experience a safe and supported low-risk homebirth should be available in Australia,” Senator Siewert said today.
“The Australian Greens believe that women should have a range of birthing choices, including homebirths, in order to provide the best outcome for mother and child,” Senator Siewert said.

“There is no reason why homebirths should not be offered to women at low risk of complications, saying it may confer considerable benefits to them and their families,” said Senator Siewert.

“There is considerable international evidence showing that birthing at home increases a woman's likelihood of a birth that is satisfying and safe, with positive health implications for mother and baby alike.

“Our maternity care system should support parents to make informed choices and enable a smooth and timely transition to higher levels of care as the need arises.

“This allows for important aspects of birthing safety to be covered, providing women who wish to experience a homebirth the best of both worlds.

“We need to ensure we have a good understanding of the medical risk factors associated with childbirth and that women making this important choice have access to the best clinical care.

“At the same time we need to appreciate the impacts of stress on mother and child to ensure we look at the social and emotional factors that enable us to provide a safe and supportive
“Not only do the Greens think a more collaborative and integrated model of practice is possible – it is absolutely necessary,” concluded Senator Siewert.

Under the Australian Greens' proposal a National Homebirth Reform Plan would provide for:

a clear policy framework for midwifery care that defines the ‘collaborative’ relationship between midwifes and doctors
best practice within homebirth services built on fully supportive organisations' systems and structures
a shared philosophy that fosters a service culture of reciprocal valuing of all birth environments
comprehensive involvement by local multidisciplinary teams and users to underpin homebirth practices within a clinical governance framework
responsible and responsive practices maintained by effective clinical decision making

Insurance provision
An insurance product covering homebirth under the midwives’ own responsibility must be developed by the insurance industry or initiated by the Federal Government once the timeframe for the exemption for eligibility has passed.


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