Sunday, June 13, 2010

in the newspapers

The words 'home birth' and 'midwives' have appeared in headlines of articles in the Sunday Age today. Here are the links to the articles:

With a little Sunshine, home birth rate is due to expand
June 13, 2010

"THE number of home births in Victoria is on the rise, with a publicly funded program using midwives from Sunshine Hospital gaining popularity.

"Since the pilot scheme was launched in January, hospital midwives have overseen seven home births. [continued]

Many midwives unaware new laws affect them
June 13, 2010

"LEGISLATION giving midwives greater authority over the maternity care of Australian women will be launched at the end of the month, but it could take years before real changes are delivered. [continued]

Readers may be wondering, is this good news?
Has all the political activism around birth, and particularly home birth, paid off?
Are Midwives in Private Practice (MiPP) in Victoria, the group managing this blog, happy with progress?
Are mothers who want to give birth at home confident that they will be able to access the professional midwifery services that they desire?

Please send a comment if you have an opinion on this. Unfortunately many will answer 'No' to each of these questions.

Midwives' opinions range from grudging acceptance that a midwife's scope of practice has been restricted, through the government's reform, to a very narrow interpretation of 'normal'; to outrage that we are being forced to give up our right to autonomous practice.

A recent blog by South Australia midwife Lisa Barrett on collaboration has drawn valuable comment.

The Save Birth Choices blog discusses the fact that Homebirths are legal but Midwives not indemnified
"Women choosing a homebirth and their midwives will take little comfort from the implementation of the Rudd Government’s professional indemnity insurance cover for practising midwives this week. [continued]

The newspaper article featuring the birth of baby Banjo through the Victorian government's pilot homebirth project at Sunshine Hospital (situated in Melbourne's Western suburbs) is good news. Women who are able to access the pilot, who might not have even considered privately attended homebirth, are given an opportunity to proceed through their birthing journey with known and trusted midwives, who are able to provide homebirthing care.

Midwifery is not for the faint-hearted. Being professionally responsible and accountable for the birth of a baby, whether in a hospital building, or in a home under hospital protocols, or in a home as an independent practitioner requires a midwife who prioritises consideration of the wellbeing of the woman and her child at all times. Midwifery cannot be fear-driven. Birth is not an illness. The midwife who understands working in harmony with natural physiological processes, who commits to protecting and promoting wellness in birthing and nurturing the newborn child, adheres to the principle that "In normal birth there should be a valid reason to interfere with the natural process" (WHO 1996).

When birth is not normal, or when a valid reason arises to interfere with the natural process, the woman who is partnered by a trusted midwife is able to make informed decisions as she progresses through what can be a frightening and unpredictable journey.

1 comment:

Joy Johnston said...

From a midwife in private practice:
"Goodluck to Sunshine but what about it [the homebirth pilot] being considered as expansion not a takeover?"