Thursday, April 30, 2009

Time for Bunbury Midwives to respond!

The Bunbury Mail headline written by Kaitlyn offer reads "More women risking Bunbury homebirths"This headline is just purely 'scaremongering' and in light of the recent release of the governments Maternity Services Review Report, which suggest that women should have improved choice, and expanding the role of the midwife.

I think the article endeavors to present a balanced view, however, it does not at any point have the view of 'the midwife' it does consider that of the obstetrician. In light of the Maternity Review I think it is time the media recognised the value of the profession of 'midwifery'(hence we have the Nurses & Midwives Act 2006) and sort the opinion of the Southwest midwives or the Australian College of Midwives to further balance this article. It is sad to see that an obstetrician is negating the woman's' right of choice and slamming this as 'putting her baby at risk'. This woman has made an intelligent, informed choice of how she would like to birth her baby and this choice should be respected not criticised.

The article goes on to say that
"Between 2003 and 2007 there were 70 homebirths recorded in the South West by the health department, up from 13 performed in 2003 to 20 in 2007.....and that there were no deaths from homebirths in the South West between 2003 and 2007". Did the Dr quote the amount of traumas associated with a birth in the hospital?
So please explain to me why then have these women put their babies at risk? oh that's right
Bunbury's gynaecologist Dr Ron Jewell said mothers were putting themselves and their babies at risk.
With what evidence is the Dr basing this statement on?
“People are looking at their choice rather than safety,” Dr Jewell said. Dr Jewell has not once commented on the services or the ability of the very professional midwives of the Southwest, where is his attempt to be collaborative with his colleagues?
All midwives are trained to be able to recognise the abnormal and deal with any emergency that may arise.

Thank goodness the the trusted consumer, Bunbury mother Megan Pelusey disagrees.

Mrs Pelusey gave birth to her first child Georgia at home in 2006 and with baby number two on the way her family is preparing for another homebirth with the help of a trusted midwife, her husband Marcus and Georgia, 2. “I’m a private person and it’s a nice way to have it in your home and this time my two year old will see it all,” Mrs Pelusey said.

Mrs Pelusey said she felt women with low risk of complications could have safe homebirths when supported by a midwife with the right equipment.
“I had continuity of care with my midwife, I had regular visits throughout the whole pregnancy, (the midwife was there) during the birth and I had after birth care and you still see a doctor anyway,” Mrs Pelusey said.
She said she was not nervous about complications.
“The midwife has all the right equipment like oxygen if it is needed and we are not very far from the hospital if something happens.”

I must say I am sadden by this article, the headline, could have been a more positive one, 'Homebirths successful in the Southwest', 'More women choose midwifery led care in the Southwest' - but I guess it just may not have the same impact.

I urge the media to give midwives a fair go! find out what it is we do? don't just take the word of an obstetrician, this is about collaborative work, we can and do work together, let midwives provide continuity of care, give women the choices they want!, it really is not to much to ask for.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Misleading headlines! Homebirths!

The phenomenon of Free birthing, Unattended childbirth whatever it is called, women who choose to birth at home with no medical or midwifery assistance. This phenomenon continues to happen and we knew it was only a matter of time before we started hearing about some tragic deaths. Now it has been reported that there have been 4 tragic baby deaths in the last 9 months. The web is full of sites of how to do your own birth (DIY) homebirth complete with what to do if things go wrong, even DIY u tube videos on waterbirth.
The Daily Telegraph has reported that AT least four babies have died during home births in Sydney in the past nine months, including the daughter of one of Australia's most vocal advocates for hospital-free deliveries. These are homebirths, but they are unattended homebirths or freebirths, without midwives or doctors.
Janet Fraser, national convener of Joyous Birth, which encourages women to shun hospitals, is dealing with the death of her own baby during a water birth at her Croydon Park home. Ms Fraser went into labour at home assisted only by her partner and a female friend when things went horribly wrong.
It is woeful that women are forced to choose this option of birth because our maternity system does not offer them a safer option, informed choice or support their option of birth without feeling threatened, bullied or patronised by the medical profession.

Now that independent midwives are under threat of being not allowed to practice if they do not have indemnity insurance, due to National Registration we will be forcing more women to do it alone. Already there is debate as to whether to outlaw or ban homebirth. Alison Leeman for the ABC reports
So as long as the AMA and RANZCOG are hostile to homebirth -ideologically, not evidentially - the government is not prepared to stare them down
– how deplorable is that, banning homebirth, what sort of democracy are we? What happened to choice and women’s right to choose? We certainly do not want to go down the same road as our American counterparts who are not permitted to do homebirths and the fetus has more rights than the woman who carries the fetus.

The Honourable Minister of Health Nicola Roxon’s report on Maternity Services stops short of supporting Homebirth and independent midwifery. However the report does acknowledge the need to increase the role of the midwife within Maternity Services and listen to what the women of our country want and that is informed choice about how to birth their babies. Without feeling intimidated by paternalistic obstetricians.

Even when reading this news story at no time is it reported that these are unattended homebirths, that is no midwife or doctor in attendance – they stipulate that the
dangers of homebirth need to acknowledge and that there are down sides to a homebirth’
Dr Pesce said it was time the increased risks of home birth were acknowledged and addressed.
"There are one or two extra deaths per 1000 deliveries and I wish people would acknowledge that," Dr Pesce said.
"It's often presented as if there are no downsides to a home birth only up sides."
He said obstetricians and the health system had to take some responsibility and try to attract women back to the hospital system.

Australian College of Midwives president Professor Pat Brodie said more was urgently needed to be done to avoid future tragedies.
"We are very concerned about a maternity care system that is so abhorrent that women choose to do this (give birth without a midwife),'' Professor Brodie said.
She said the maternity services system needed to be re-organised so women were assigned to a single midwife who they knew and trusted and who could provide continuity of care throughout their pregnancy.

'Home births in Australia represent just 0.25 per cent of all births.
Of the 277,436 babies born in 2006, just 708 were home births.
The majority of the home births are done with the assistance of a midwife.'

Surprise, surprise hospitals are now asking the question? Why are women choosing to birth at home without medical or midwifery assistance? Dr Pesce described it well when he said “ In the hospital system we need to get our act together rather than make them (women) refugees of the system” well said doctor.

It is all about informed choice, allowing the woman to know her own body and make the right decisions. Collaborative work with our obstetricians, we need to work together each one acknowledging that each profession has an equal place. Midwives specialize in the ‘normal’ obstetricians specialize in the ‘abnormal’

Save Homebirth

Home Birth Australia