Sunday, November 14, 2010

What the women said ... 3

... in their submissions to the Maternity Services Review.

Today's theme is homebirth. Access to homebirth midwifery services, funding for homebirth, acceptance of homebirth, evidence supporting homebirth ... themes that were a repeated refrain in many submissions.

"Women have been the big losers in maternity care for many years. The promise of a maternity review at the 2007 election to put women first has been a farce. The 900 submissions were more than the whole of the Health and Hospital Reform consultation process. Over 400 of these called for access to homebirth, yet the report of the maternity service review and subsequent budget excluded homebirth."
[Justine Caines, Daily Telegraph]

Theme 3: Homebirth

3.1 "resentful and disempowered" in private hospital [028]
I gave birth to my daughter in a private hospital, and despite having a completely natural and postive birth, I felt resentful and disempowered with the pregnancy and postnatal "care" I received from the obstetrician and hospital system, including the labour and birth and hospital stay.
I have since given birth to my son at home, and had the most wonderful care throughout the whole pregnancy, birth and postnatal period from my midwife, whom I will be engaging next time round when we have our next baby.

3.2 Trust [032]
We homebirthed our three children with the assistance of beautiful, confident midwifes. They guided and assisted us through the physical and emotional relationships with our new baby and ourselves. The core of this is TRUST in myself to birth in a strong, empowering way, in my partner to support me in this process and in our midwife.

3.3 Cost of homebirth [048]
We have a 15 month old boy who was born at home by our choice (based on a lot of research which proved that home-births had better outcomes for mother and baby). It was a truly amazing experience for us and we feel by doing this we also helped reduce the strain on local hospitals, who at the time had a women give birth in the waiting room due to the lack of availability of delivery rooms (due to a baby
We would love to have another child, maybe even another couple of children, however due to the cost, we don't know if this will be an option for us (we are young parents struggling to meet loan repayments for our house). ... A homebirth costs around $3500-4500 in rural regions, more in cities. ... Seems a little unfair given that those that birth at home are actually doing the government a favour by reducing the burden on hospitals. It seems very likely that we won't be having a baby for the country!!

It would be ideal if medicare could cover some of the costs of homebirths to make this option more affordable (especially for those that can't afford private health insurance). I believe if more people knew about the advantages of birthing at home and it was a lower cost option than hospital, a much larger percentage of the population would be birthing at home (we are your typical young married couple,
homebirth is not just for "hippies"). And thereby reducing the burden on hospitals. For the poorer amongst us that have babies, they birth in public hospitals, this is the only option, they cannot birth at home because HOMEBIRTH IS UNAFFORDABLE!!.

3.4 Confident with home birth [106]
I am sharing with you my personal views and experiences in hope of contributing to the much needed changes surrounging maternity issues.
I started my family quite young. I have a 20 month old and twins due in 4 weeks and I have just had my 23rd birthday. For all my children I have planned homebirths, my first being so successful I feel confident to birth my twins at home.

3.5 HBA2C Birth at home after two Caesareans [814]
On consultation with the local and only practising obstetrician (for what is considered within the current health system a high risk pregnancy, by virtue of previous caesarean) we were unhelpfully informed that the mother in question had "..a morbid desire to achieve a natural birth at any cost" and that "..two caesarean sections in the uterus constitute a potentially lethal medical condition for herself and her unborn baby. She has placed herself and her unborn baby in danger once before and she is attempting to do this again. In the circumstances she should at least have psychological counselling and assessment." We were threatened with a notification to Department of Community Services as it was insinuated that our desire to birth without unnecessary intervention was a form of reckless endangerment of the unborn child.

Our baby's birth was conducted without tying up limited resources in our hospital system, the same system that did not allow a trial of the birth by natural methods, utilising the safeguard of emergency services should they be required without transfer. The birth proceeded without the use of drugs, and did not involve significant abdominal surgery as was proposed as our only option in the health care system. Further, the mother was in her own environment during recovery, leading to the minimum of disruption for the family unit. Our independent midwife has continued postnatal care over the past week, visiting 3 times within the week to check mother & baby's health and progress post birth.

3.6 8 children born at home [810]
We are in our 40s and we have birthed all of our 8 children at home in the care of an independent midwife.

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