Thursday, November 29, 2012

Normal birth at home? Key experts say "Yes!"

I attended a lecture at University Technology Sydney (UTSpeaks) a couple of weeks ago. Professor Caroline Homer, Director of the UTS Centre for Midwifery, Child and Family Health, leads research in innovative models of midwifery care, midwifery practice and education. Her topic was “Home or Hospital - is there a best birthing option.” She was speaking almost entirely to the converted, to those consumers, midwives and other health professionals who feel very strongly that women in Australian society are currently disadvantaged when they express a desire to birth normally at home. So it was gratifying to hear that Professor Homer actually sees a future for more enlightened birthing practices in this country. She believes that strong consumer desire, the cost of birth in hospitals and more to the point, studies of large cohorts of women showing no difference in safety or outcomes, will drive the changes. She also questions whether medical professionals, regulators, politicians and journalists have a right to narrow the choices available to women. I came aware feeling a lot more optimistic about the future of women’s birthing choices in this country where currently only 0.3% of women give birth in the comfort of their own home. Maybe you could feel confident to swell those numbers after watching her lecture! Also good to see Associate Professor Michael Nicholl, obstetrician and gynaecologist and Director of Women’s and Children’s Health at Northern Sydney Local Health District give her such a resounding welcome and endorsement!

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