Monday, October 26, 2009

Homebirth Awareness Week: Celebrate or Commiserate?


Monday October 26 2009

Contact: Justine Caines 0408210273

Homebirth Awareness Week: Celebrate or Commiserate?
Minister’s Weakness and Bureaucrats ignorance continues

This week marks Homebirth Awareness week. Homebirth Australia fears that this time next year Australian women will not have the option of homebirth.

“It is hard to understand the hysteria around homebirth in Australia. Our maternity hospitals are full to the brim, many of them churning women out conveyor belt style and yet this is considered safe, hardly! said Justine Caines Secretary of Homebirth Australia and mother of seven home born children.”

Mainstream Australian maternity care is not about women, women are rarely consulted in the development of services, they are the main player and yet they have been silenced by practitioners who insist they ‘know better’ said Ms Caines.

Homebirth on the other hand is different. Women make decisions about their care, they invite a midwife into their home, rather than be forced to meet the needs of practitioners and organisational convenience which happens when giving birth in a hospital” said Ms Caines

“The outcomes from homebirth are also considerably better*. Women experience more personalised care and fewer interventions, they also enter motherhood happier and more content.” said Ms Caines

Something that is considered a normal reasonable choice in the U.K, The Netherlands, New Zealand, and Canada is under threat of extinction in Australia. Bureaucrats advising the Minister do not even understand homebirth and they refuse to seek information from key stakeholders

“Asking an Obstetrician about homebirth is like seeking advice from a midwife on caesarean surgery.” said Ms Caines

“Health Minister Nicola Roxon plans to fund midwifery care under Medicare, something sorely needed. She has however excluded homebirth. She did this against all evidence and the express wishes of the women of Australia across two enquiries, one that broke a Senate record on the number of submissions received.” said Ms Caines

The question remains; Will politicians continue to be more responsive to those with deep vested interest in maternity services? It is time to step up and listen to women, the very people for whom these so called reforms are proposed.” asked Ms Caines

Also see previous posts:
More irrefutable evidence

Safe Maternity Care

Homebirths in Victoria 2007

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Saturday 28 November, at Elgar Park, Mont Albert (just off the Eastern Fwy – cnr Elgar Rd and Belmore Rd), 11am-4pm. [See Map of Melbourne]

Please check this blog by 9am that day for alternate plan if weather is unsuitable.

Midwives and our families invite the families we know and serve to join us for a picnic lunch, to celebrate life, and birth, and mothering, and midwifery.

BYO everything – food, picnic rugs, hats, chairs &tables (if you want them), games, and your musical instrument and a song if you like.

Elgar Park has toilets, playground, lots of open space, bush areas, wetlands with boardwalk, walking tracks …

Please pass this message on to others who may be interested.

More irrefutable evidence of safety in homebirth

[Note: The letter scanned has been reduced in size to fit one page, without removal of any substance. Click on the pic to enlarge it.]

A couple of months ago a request was sent to the Victorian government’s perinatal data collection unit on behalf of MIPP, requesting that a performance indicator analysis be undertaken of actual homebirth cases and planned homebirth cases (ie including those transferred to hospital) in the past 5 years of data.

For those who may not understand the principles behind performance indicator analysis, you can read up on it In essence it’s an attempt to make valid comparisons using retrospective data.

Of the approx 1000 women who planned homebirth in the 5 years 2003-2007, 170 were standard primiparae. These mothers achieved a 6.5% caesarean rate, which compares favourably with the Statewide public hospital rate of approximately 15%, and the Statewide private hospital rate of approximately 27% for standard primiparae in 2007-08 [Source: Victorian Maternity Service Performance Indicators, 2009].

The 30 women who were assessed under the performance indicator criteria for vaginal birth after caesarean (vbac) all achieved vbac! This compares with the Statewide public hospital rate of 30% and private less than 20% in the 2007-08 report.

This report adds to the already large body of evidence supporting the safety and effectiveness of private midwifery practice in Victoria.

Let’s be encouraged to stay strong in a very difficult time.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A breech in the system


Maternity Coalition Movie Night, THURSDAY, 5th November, 2009


A woman wants to give birth to her breech baby in a hospital. They say she has to have a caesarean section. This is an inspiring documentary about her to attempt to birth naturally against all odds.

Karin Ecker's interest in social issues has brought her international credits for her filmmaking plus photographic art. From filming European children exploring environmental issues in the Bahamas to physically handicapped people scuba diving in the Egyptian Sea, she now brings her lens to the issue of childbirth choices in Australia.

She intends to use this film as a tool to support the voice of 'woman'.

The Movie will be followed by a discussion panel including:
Dr Lionel Steinberg - Obstetrician
Joy Johnston - Independent Midwife


To get the discounted price, please pay for your spot before movie night

THURSDAY, 5th November, 2009 - 7:30 pm

Mercy Lecture Theatre (Cnr Young and Graham St)
Australian Catholic University
115 Victoria Pde Fitzroy

$10 - Pre-paid Tickets
$15 - Ticket at the door

Phone 03 8677 1881

Direct Deposit:
Mojain Pty Ltd
BSB:013313, A/C:498690669
Ref: MC11-'your name'

Please note that tickets will not be issued, but names will be held at the door

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

New Trust Fund for Indigenous Midwifery Students

New Trust Fund for Aboriginal Midwifery Students

ACM was delighted to launch this new trust fund at its recent conference in Adelaide. It is known as the ‘Rhodanthe Lipsett’ Trust, after the midwifery elder and longstanding ACM member of the same name, whose idea it was to create this trust.

The Trust aims to provide annual scholarships to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander midwifery students, to assist them in their study to become midwives. It is inspired by the improvements in outcomes for Indigenous women achieved in New Zealand and Canada, where care is routinely provided by midwives who are Maori or Inuit respectively.

The Trust needs to gather at least $200,000 to enable annual scholarships to be paid to eligible students. To read more visit the Trust website. Make a donation today on this secure website to help make a difference for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers and babies.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


From the USA, Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS), together with 44 co-signing organisations, reiterated their support for informed decision-making by women in a strong statement that cites the research evidence regarding the safe choices of home birth and midwifery care.

The joint statement was released in response to a biased and sensationalized segment featured on NBC’s The Today Show. The segment, “The Perils of Midwifery” (later renamed “The Perils of Home Birth” online), which aired on Sept. 11, inaccurately implied that hospitals are the safest place for low-risk women to give birth and mischaracterized women who choose home birth as ‘hedonists,’ going so far as to suggest that these women are putting their birth experiences above the safety of their babies. Neither could be further from the truth.

For a link to the One Voice Response to Today Show (PDF), go to the CIMS site.