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Birth Options: Birthing at home

Updated: Nov 26, 2021

There is a common misconception that Homebirth is risky, that it is often unassisted and that it is a birth at home AT ALL COST. This simply isn't true, overwhelming evidence now shows that for a healthy parent the outcomes are almost identical between a hospital birth and birthing at home with a known Midwife. It is arguable that the outcomes are BETTER when you consider the psychological and emotional care you receive when you have a known Midwife who you build up a solid relationship of trust with, who knows your story and support you to have the best birth possible

Homebirth Midwives are extremely well trained in and have seen a lot of normal birth - which makes them experts in identifying when things are NOT going as expected, they are also well trained in emergency response and carry the same medications that would be used in hospital as a first line treatment for excessive blood lost post birth, oxygen and resus equipment for baby if they need help to transition to breathing air. You are also offered the same screening tests throughout pregnancy and you actually have MORE appointments and time with them for each visit - with appointments often in your own home

They will have a back-up Midwife to attend the birth (generally always two Midwives at a Homebirth) and they offer you the same observations and checks to you and your baby throughout labour, with your consent. If at any time they feel things aren't going as they should, if you decide you would like the option of medical pain relief or in an emergency situation, you would transfer in to your back-up hospital

After birth, both you and your baby will have the same neonatal checks they would have in hospital, you are offered the same options of newborn screenings, procedures observations and providing all is well, you can remain at home and settle into life with your new baby

Post birth you have many or all of the visits in your own home and up to almost 7 weeks of postpartum visits, as required

CMP - Community Midwifery Program

There are a couple of care options for Homebirth in Perth, The Community Midwifery Program is a free service which is government funded and run. It does tend to have quite a strict inclusion criteria and a low threshold to transfer your care into the hospital system if anything out of the ordinary arises. Currently, due to staffing issues some people are having to transfer into a hospital for their birth instead of having their care attended at home (as planned). Please keep this in mind when considering the CMP and perhaps ask some questions when you enquire. Check out the website, where they have details and application forms

Private/Independent Midwifery

You can also enlist the services of a Private/Independent Midwife. They work independently of the hospital system and have a schedule of fees - which when you look at the care that you receive, it is money well spent! Some of this may be claimed/refunded through Medicare and if you hit the safety net limit you will get an even bigger refund. You will also pay a non rebatable fee for the birth attendance of your back up Midwife (usually around $500). Fees for comprehensive care can range from $4000-$7000 before rebates

You can even enlist the comprehensive services of an Independent Midwife if you are planning on birthing in hospitals (they also have visiting rights at some, meaning you can have your very own Midwife attend your labour in hospital too) - which is a great option considering the current government restrictions and lack of face to face maternity care. You would still book into the hospital that you intend on attending during your birth, but have your pregnancy and postpartum care provided by your own Midwife. In most cases they can order any tests or screenings, ultrasound, even take blood if required, all in the comfort of your own home

There are many Private Midwives in the Perth area, here are some links. If you think Homebirth may be the option for you - contact them directly, get in quickly as availability is often very limited!

Dr. Clare Davison

Antenatal, home birth & postnatal care (all areas).

Has admitting rights at KEMH

Mobile: 0403 968 409

Freebirth/unassisted birth

Some families choose to birth without the assistance of a trained health professional and for many and varied reasons. Firstly, all people who choose to freebirth have an innate trust in their body and see birth as a normal life event. Some have had a previously traumatic experience and do not feel safe in a hospital, some will have restrictions imposed upon them because of either pre-existing health conditions or due to risk factors if they birth in hospital, some want to have compete control over their bodies and birth, some have a deep mistrust in the mainstream birthing system, some want to stay out of the system but cannot afford to pay an independent Midwife, some don't have access to any health services and many just wan to do it all themselves!

I have to admit that I always thought "why wouldn't you want to have a Midwife?" but over the last couple of years I see freebirth with fresh eyes. With the erosion of human rights and how horrendous birth intervention has become (with absolutely no change to the neonatal or maternal outcomes - actually for the worse!), I can completely understand how and why people come to this decision. People should ALWAYS have the choice to make informed decisions about their body and their health - if you support this then you can't NOT support the choice to birth in any way that feels right (be it elective CS, IOL, homebirth with a MW or unassisted or hospital). It may not be the choice YOU would make, but it is still a valid choice none the less. Taking the choice and the responsibility for your own birth and body is the ultimate empowerment. The lived experience is yours

Birthing options are becoming more and more reduced with increasing government restrictions, there are many Doulas ;) who support freebirth/unassisted birth - contact me for more information xx

Article images by @gisellenatassia

I'm Hayley,

Doula, Birth Educator and Mother of 4. I have been a birth worker for over 10 years and it is my life's work to support you to have your best birth and postpartum possible! Connect with me through;

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