Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Time to normalise birth in the 21st century

Media Release: ‘Time to normalise birth in the 21st Century’

Press release from Australian College of Midwives

Breathing New Life into Maternity Care Conference
(Gold Coast, Holiday Inn, September 18th-20th 2008)

A multidisciplinary conference – Breathing New Life into Maternity Care – will bring together maternity care providers and consumers to discuss ways in which to reduce the skyrocketing caesarean section rate and improve care for women, their babies and families.

“This comes hot on the heels of the Commonwealth discussion paper on Improving Maternity Services in Australia and the Primary Maternity Services in Australia Framework”, said Professor Brodie, President of the Australian College of Midwives. “It gives us a wonderful opportunity in this country to put women at the centre of our maternity service planning and to collaborate with each other to achieve this end.”

Dr Andrew Kotaska, a Clinical Director of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Canada and a keynote speaker at the conference, has called for “normalising birth in the 21st Century”. He said, “with skyrocketing rates of intervention during birth in modern industrialized countries we need a clear definition of normal birth. To empower women and caregivers to embrace normal birth will require a critical examination of our overestimation of common obstetrical risks and our risk-based culture in general. Current caesarean section rates of 30% are not justified to ensure safety and can be reduced.”

Henci Gore another keynote speaker at the conference and author of the widely acclaimed books The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth and Obstetric Myths Versus Research Realities said, "It isn't a matter of figuring out what approach and practices produce safe, effective, satisfying, and cost-effective maternity care. We already know. Every group everywhere that has ever come together to make this determination has come up with essentially the same recommendations. The time has come for the government and health care providers to live up to their obligation to the childbearing women.”

Melissa Fox, Vice-President of Maternity Coalition, Australia’s umbrella maternity consumer organisation said, “mums and babies deserve the best start to life. This is the foundation for future health. Strong babies and Mums mean stronger families and healthier communities. Governments and carers need to re-orient maternity services, keeping mothers and families at the centre. We believe the best way to ensure this is to have consumers making decisions alongside care providers to make strong and effective policy and new models of care where there is collaboration and respect between all.”

Professor Brodie said, “With over 250 midwives, doctors, consumers and policy makers in one room, this conference is set to be one of the most exciting and powerful events we have seen in over a decade of maternity care. The key to the future is effective relationships between the health professionals and systems that support the skills of the health professionals in a networked seamless environment that is so important for the provision of safe, satisfying care.”

Media Spokesperson, Australian College of Midwives, Assoc Professor Hannah Dahlen 0407 643 943.
President, Australian College of Midwives, Professor Pat Brodie 0417 544 824.
Executive Officer, Australian College of Midwives, Dr Barbara Vernon 0438 855 529.

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