Tomorrow is a national day of action for birth choices in Australia. Although things are looking better for independent midwifery in the coming years than they have in the past, there are still some cracks in the proposed changes.
I have had 3 hospital births myself but I have always considered that a choice. A choice made after considering all of my options and taking into account my personal health, gut feelings, partners feelings and geographical location. As it stands, later this year, there are women who will not have the freedom to choose as I did. They will have a Dr. telling them what they must do.
The current situation in the birth choices debate is that independent midwives will have access to the medicare benefits scheme and the pharmaceutical benefits scheme, but only if they have a collaborative agreement with a medical practitioner. While we are waiting for the definition of collaborative agreement to be released, we do know that it means that a medical practitioner will have the final say over where and how many women give birth, unless they can afford to fund it themselves. This is not really in the spirit of choice.
On the surface this may seem pretty reasonable; everyone wants a healthy mother and baby, surely a Dr. is the right person to decide how best to achieve that, right?
Consider the situation that says you may not be allowed to have a vaginal birth if your baby is breech, is a multiple or you have had a previous caesarean and it seems inappropriate to me for a doctor, working with hospital policies and fear of litigation, to make that choice for you. In these cases, a medical practitioner will probably not sign off on a home birth. The choice then becomes consenting to an unwanted caesarean, travelling long distances to another hospital that will support your choice, or going it alone. A midwife is well equipped to handle these situations and can transfer a women to hospital IF there is a need for it.
For details on the rallys being held around the country, see here.
To learn more about the Maternity services review and senate enquiry into maternity services in Australia see www.pregnancy.com.au
Special thanks to all who plan on attending the events tomorrow and to everyone who have already taken a stand on this issue.
If you have something to say, please leave a reply 🙂