Two doulas, who are not medically trained but provide emotional support for women before and during childbirth, and a qualified independent midwife were called but arrived too late.
The baby's father told The Sun-Herald the doulas had told him the baby was stillborn due to an infection contracted inside the womb.
This tragedy confirms the fears of maternity experts who are alarmed at the growing trend of women evading the health system in favour of unsupervised home births.
This begs the questions, what information did the hospital doctors give this woman to scare her away and make the decision she did? Why do women make these choices? Was this woman suspicious that she may be coerced into something she did not want, and made a hasty decision? did she feel she had "no choice"
The Australian College of Midwives supports homebirth for low risk women. Midwives are trained in the 'normal' and can recognise the 'abnormal' therefore refer when necessary to an obstetrician. However the College does not support "freebirthing" its too risky.
Associate professor Dahlen said in this case the woman had been traumatised by a previous hospital experience and fears she might be forced into induction or a caesarean. Against medical advice, she made a last-minute decision to leave the hospital and go home and soon after the baby died in the womb.
If we fix the system we won't have women resorting to a last-minute panicked decision like this......... The increase in women freebirthing is a symptom of a system that does not give women choice. We're seeing more and more of these concerning incidents in the last two years. It has to be addressed, and urgently.
The NSW Health Department spokesman said;
Patients have the right to decline medical intervention or treatment, as as the freedom to choose where, when and from whom they will receive medical advice and assistance
It is suspected that this baby died of Group B streptococcus, not as a result of the homebirth. This case is currently with the coroner, so watch this space........
As a midwife I have to say, that there are enormous risks associated with 'freebirthing' and it is not advisable. I am an advocate for homebirth in low risk women, that is with no risk factors. However it is important to talk about your concerns and collaboration is the key. I urge any woman considering the option of Freebirth to seek advice, from your doctor, midwife, someone who can give you appropriate advice.
Look at all your options carefully, be fully informed in the risks associated with your condition and your babies condition before you make a decision. Write the risk and benefits down so that the facts are clear and there can be no mistakes, get a health professional to read your list so you have a balanced view and you have not left something out, then make a decision.
Remember to act on the FACTS not the EMOTION, after all it is your life, dreams and aspirations that your are considering. Take the time to make that decision, there are always consequences to actions.