Tuesday, November 18, 2008


The changing structure of our 21st century family and work arrangements is deeply impacting on life experiences - particularly profound life moments such as birth, love and death.

We are hoping to get in touch with midwives to ask them their opinions about this - we are particularly interested in speaking with midwives who do not have their own children yet, but plan to have children in the future.

At this stage, this would not be a commitment to be in the documentary - we would just like to talk to women midwives about their thoughts and experiences as part of our preliminary research.

The documentary is planned to go into production at the end of February/beginning of March 2009 and will be shooting around the Sydney area.

The documentary has just been funded by Screen Australia - Australia's national film funding organisation. It is being directed by co-directors Tom Murray and Madeleine Hetherton. We are both experienced documentary makers who have directed a number of documentaries for broadcasters such as the ABC, SBS and commercial channels.

We would love to talk to you! Please call or email us if you would like more information.
Madeleine Hetherton 0408 6222 203 madspace@bigpond.com

Tom Murray M:0402 439 912 tarpaulin@ozemail.com.au

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Victoria lags behind in maternity reform

Maternity Coalition MEDIA RELEASE
Sunday November 16 2008

Catch up Daniel Andrews - Nicola Roxon is way ahead

In September Health Minister, Nicola Roxon announced a review of maternity services, making it the 38th since 1985.
“We believe the only issue to have more inquiries commissioned is petrol prices. Women and their babies have been political hot potatoes, and we hope this is about to change”, said Deborah Loupelis, Victorian Secretary of Maternity Coalition and mother of 2.
Victoria is no different. In 2004 an excellent policy document was released, Future Directions. This document supports the establishment of primary midwifery care for women across the state.
“Instead of enhancement, since the review the state government has ripped midwifery apart, closing birth centres and the successful Rosebud maternity unit on the Mornington Peninsula.
“Maternity Coalition has been working for maternity reform for a long time. We have heard countless stories of women desperate for a better system. It is encouraging that finally a Federal Health Minister is listening. Minister Roxon has outlined the need for reform, flagging the enhancement of 1-2-1 care and indemnity protection for midwives across Australia.”
“We need Victorian Minister, Daniel Andrews to catch up. With an increase in births across the state many maternity units are bursting at the seams, they are simply not safe. Local primary midwifery services will give women safe, supportive and sustainable care.”
“Since September, women from all over Australia have been sending Maternity Coalition copies of their submissions to the Review. Initial feedback from the Department of Health has been that the total number of submissions they’ve received is overwhelming.”
“Although we have not been surprised by the volume of responses, we are buoyed by the depth of emotion from Australian women who support our vision of broadened maternity choices”.
“Today women from across Victoria will share the stories they have submitted, demonstrating how much 1-2-1 midwifery care has meant to them. They are gathering at TREASURY GARDENS from 1pm in a display of UNITY, ACTION & REFORM”
We applaud Minister Roxon’s positive stance, we understand, however, with 37 inquiries before that now is time for action. Women across the nation are saying there have been enough investigations. 1-2-1 midwifery care is the gold standard and women deserve that option now.”

Janie Nottingham 0420620808

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

PICNIC at Treasury Gardens, Sunday 16 November, from 1pm

We are all invited to join Maternity Coalition for this picnic.

The theme is ‘Great Expectations’: The Future of Maternity Care in Australia

Federal Minister for Health, Nicola Roxon has recently set up a review into Australian maternity services.

The benefits of the care of a known midwife throughout, pregnancy labour and birth are well documented: they include reductions in surgery, increased rates and duration of breastfeeding, reduction in post natal depression, and greater maternal satisfaction.

Midwifery care that integrates clinical assessment and monitoring within a social framework, has considerable capacity to improve health and related outcomes for Indigenous women and others who are known to be at increased risk of poor outcomes.

The cost of maternity care has risen significantly. Obstetricians have increased their fees by 269% since the Medicare Safety-net was introduced in 2004. While midwives are educated and registered to provide the entire episode of care for healthy women (approx 75%) a lack of funding and indemnity insurance still prevents this. It is estimated that around 1% of midwives work to their registered capacity.

Maternity Coalition is uniting the women and midwives of Australia to support Minister Roxon’s work and seeks support from politicians across the country. Maternity Coalition is hosting community events across the country. There is considerable media interest.

On Sunday 16 November families from across Victoria will meet in Treasury Gardens from 1pm.

Please come and hear from women across the state regarding the current broken maternity system and how 1-2-1 community midwifery will transform services in both regional and metropolitan areas.

Should you be unable to attend would you please consider sending a message of support, because in someway birth affects us all.

Victorian Co-ordinator, Janie Nottingham (03) 59748364 or 0420620808

Monday, November 3, 2008


Early cord clamping, immediately after birth and prior to cessation of pulsation of the cord, is performed routinely in many hospitals as part of managed third stage. Women planning to give birth in Birth Centres or at home will often be aware of the advantages to the baby of delayed cord clamping, or not clamping or cutting the cord, and request physiological 'unmanaged' third stage. This is the usual practice for many independent homebirth midwives.

An article in yesteday's Sunday Age, 'Trial to test benefit of delayed cord cutting' brought the welcome news that research is being undertaken - "leaving the cord unclamped for 60 seconds, holding the baby below the placenta and allowing gravity to let blood from the placenta enter the baby." The trial focuses on babies born more than 10 weeks early - the vulnerable, premature babies, who would not be likely to survive without expert neonatal specialist care.

In a normal birth setting - that is, a baby at term, spontaneous onset and progress of labour without stimulation, and spontaneous cephalic birth of a healthy baby - the mother herself is able to take her baby into her arms when she is ready. This may be immediately after the birth, or may be minutes later. There should be no need to put times and restrictions on the position of the baby.

The ICM/FIGO joint statement on active management of third stage is the 'evidence based' protocol followed in many major maternity hospitals.
"Active management of the third stage of labour consists of interventions designed to facilitate the delivery of the placenta by increasing uterine contractions and to prevent PPH by averting uterine atony. The usual components include:
· Administration of uterotonic agents
· Controlled cord traction
· Uterine massage after delivery of the placenta, as appropriate."

This protocol requires "Clamp the cord close to the perineum (once pulsation stops in a healthy newborn) and hold in one hand."

Waiting for pulsation to cease can be a precious time for the mother, in touching and observing her newly born child. A pulsating cord usually means the baby is OK. Even in the highly complex birthing situations a baby born with a pulse is likely to be fine.

I have observed many instances of actively 'managed' third stage in which the clamping of the cord is immediate, allowing a baby to be whisked away from the mother so that medical personnel can perform their ritual 'lifesaving' acts. This must have a profound impact on both mother and baby, interfering with bonding and increasing fear in both. Many mothers accept the interventions uncritically, believing that they were performed in the best interests of the child.

Professionals and parents need to critically examine the evidence around these serious interventions. Many lay people who read a blog such as this one may feel overwhelmed by the huge differences between holistic midwifery practice, and the highly interventionist obsteric services that are provided for the majority of women. As an immediate action that anyone who is concerned that their baby's umbilical cord may be clamped prior to cessation of pulsation, should discuss with their care providers and ask what is their usual practice.

Any midwife or doctor who is willing to clamp a pulsing cord should, in my opinion, be challenged.
Joy Johnston