SMH article - When push comes to shove, home births don't deserve to be demonised
This opinion piece is written by Tara Moss(bestselling author and the UNICEF Australia patron of breastfeeding for the Baby Friendly Health Initiative) explores the increasing level of intervention and the demonisation homebirth.
The article quotes:
"More than 30 per cent of mothers now have a caesarean - more than 40 per cent in private hospitals. And caesareans aren't the only procedure on the rise. Obstetricians in NSW have been given strict new guidelines after a record 34 per cent of women having their first baby were induced in 2009 (more than 50 per cent in three hospitals), causing significantly higher numbers of emergency caesareans and other complications. First-time mothers who give birth in hospital here are now more likely to have a medical intervention than not."
Very few women can now enter our hospital system without having intervention in their labour. But worse still is that these women are leaving the system so traumatised that with subsequent pregnancies - they are rejecting all health care (including a homebirth midwife). Free birth is rising as a result.
Melanie Jackson (one of my wonderful midwifery colleagues) is doing her PhD on this very issue. She has written a very eloquent article called Risk is in the Eye of the Beholder and explores this issue at length.
What do you think of the Sydney Morning Herald Article "When push comes to shove, home births don't deserve to be demonised"? What can we do to help women have a positive birth experience given the current climate?
The Push and Shove of Politics
Thanks for posting that article AussieMidwife. As an opinion piece goes, I think it is fantastic. It presents a watertight case for the safety of homebirth for low risk women, which leaves me asking the same questions I have asked when reading similar articles, and the research papers on which they were based - Why?
With a growing body of evidence to the contrary, why is our government almost overwhelmingly against homebirth. What is it that our government gets out of the homebirth witch hunt? What do they get out of laying down roadblocks to ensure that the rate of homebirths remains minuscule in this country? What do they get out of naming and shaming homebirth midwives and admonishing homebirthing mothers? It is possible that it is just a maniacal bid for control, but really, I think there has to be more to it than that.
Maybe I have it all wrong. Maybe the politicians are just reflecting our culture. Are we a culture of doubting occas who reckon if it ain't in a hospital, it ain't on? (It'll help if you imagine Life-Be-In-It's Norm on his couch, with his tinnie, as you read that).
After all, as a people, most of us continue to trail blindly into hospitals to be brutalised by a medical system that, much like the Monty Python scene Tara Moss refers to, considers we birthing women ‘unqualified' to make decisions about our bodies and our babies. We have been intimidated and tortured until every woman has become afraid (or most of us at least!).
The only real answer to fear that I know of is knowledge. As advocates for natural birth, right here and right now, we can't change Australian culture overnight but we can endeavour to change it one woman at a time.
- We can keep fighting for the rights of not just the women of today but the women of tomorrow - our daughters.
- We can raise our daughters to believe in their birthing bodies and to carry the torch into the future.
- We can keep talking on forums like this one, and rebuild in woman the faith in their own bodies that centuries of conditioning has beaten out of them.