Saturday, August 29, 2009

Birth your way

Where to give birth should be a woman’s choice, not governed by legislation

I am a firm believer in the old saying “better to be safe than sorry”. So when it came time to give birth to my daughter, I chose midwifery care through Cairns Base Hospital.
If anything were to go wrong, it would be only a matter of seconds before I’d be in the care of a doctor or obstetrician.
Even though I wanted a natural birth with no drugs, epidural or other intervention, I felt this was the safest option for me and my baby.
But let me be clear in that I also believe women have the right to choose where, and with whom, they give birth, and I do not believe home births to be unsafe.
In fact, research published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, has shown that home births assisted by a trained midwife are just as safe for low-risk mothers and their babies as a delivery led by a midwife in hospital.
The study of 530,000 women in the Netherlands found no difference in death or serious illness among either mothers or their babies if they gave birth at home rather than in hospital.
The Netherlands has the highest home birth rate in the western world at 30 per cent, thanks to a streamlined transportation and referral system that allows women who plan a home birth to access specialist, emergency obstetric care in hospital should complications arise.
This sort of care does not exist in Australia, so there is an increased risk of not getting intervention quickly enough if something goes wrong.