Friday, May 8, 2009

Risk and homebirth: what’s at stake?

Published in ON LINE Opinion: Australia's e-journal of social and political debate
By Karen Lane and Kerreen Reiger - posted Wednesday, 6 May 2009

In the aftermath of the recent federal Review of Maternity Services, public debate on the relative merits of home versus hospital birth has been raging with more heat than light. Current affairs coverage of the topic has at times attracted the worst practices of the tabloid press. Alarmist headings such as “Why hospital horrors bring birth risks home” (Daily Telegraph, April 6, 2009) are not helpful to anyone engaged in this debate - not women, not midwives, not obstetricians and not policymakers.

As maternity service researchers and as mothers we make three arguments here. The first relates to media coverage of the topic. The second relates to the international evidence surrounding the safety of homebirth. The third relates to the future provision of optimal maternity services for Australian women. [continued]

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