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Homebirth Consortium Australia [HCA] is a newly formed working group made up of representatives from local homebirth groups around Australia. HCA’s aim is to show their support for homebirth midwives and fight for changes to government policies so that midwives can return to working more autonomously and within their full scope of practice. By supporting our homebirth midwives, we support home birthing families and accordingly aim to protect homebirth within Australia.


Media Release for Mothers For Midwives March on May 5th2018

With International Midwives Day on May 5th, it is an opportunity for women around Australia to thank the professionals who held their hands during the most important day (or night) of their lives: their baby’s birth day.

It is estimated there are over 32,000 registered midwives, with around 28,000 midwives employed by public and private hospitals in Australia. However, there is also a seriously shrinking population of midwives who assist women to birth at home. Statistics from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare show that in 2014 there were 287 midwives attending homebirths as a primary carer – this not only includes Privately Practising Midwives (PPMs), but midwives attending homebirths that are publicly funded by the government through the 14 hospital-led homebirth programs. The latest data shows that in 2015 that number fell to 241and that number has certainly shrunk dramatically since then as regulations have stifled the health professionals who work in private practice, and who home birthing women rely on to maintain safety.

Amantha McGuinness from Homebirth Australia had this to say:
“Ever increasing regulation and the relentless vexatious reporting of PPMs has led to a decline in the number of midwives supporting homebirths, with those remaining in practice often feeling marginalised, unsupported and unable to practice in a way that aligns with the midwifery philosophy of being “with woman”. Many women, particularly those in regional and rural areas, are unable to access homebirth at all. Despite the extra regulation, women are still birthing and midwives are still working without intrapartum insurance for a homebirth with no valid solution in sight. The new requirement for two midwives at homebirth is also impacting on women and their birth options. Women in many areas of Australia who want a homebirth with a midwife are now faced with the choice to travel great distances to access midwives, or birth at home without a midwife at all. This begs the question: are all the regulations actually making birth safer, or are they just reducing and restricting the options of birthing women?”

With a decreasing chance of “normal birth” and an increasing caesarean ratein Australian hospitals, the choice to homebirth is not one that is going away. But with less and less homebirth midwives to assist women during the prenatal, birth and postnatal period, there is a danger that these women, many of whom are casualties of an underfunded, understaffed, fragmented and broken hospital system, will choose to birth at home anyway, but without the safety of a midwife in attendance. Indeed freebirth is said to be on the increase.

Professor of Midwifery Hannah Dahlen says “We have undertaken several studies into the issue of freebirth and it appears to be increasing in Australia. Women tell us the main reasons they freebirth is they are unable to find a midwife in their area or can’t afford to pay for them. More and more women are fleeing mainstream maternity care after previous traumatic birth experiences. We will continue to see adverse outcomes unless we fix the system and respect women’s right to choose their place of birth and care provider.”

Jo Hunter, a privately practising midwife from the Blue Mountains, says she had 14 enquiries for April and had to turn away 10 women as she could only support 4 of them for the month.

Homebirth Consortium Australia [HCA] is a newly formed working group made up of midwife, consumer and organisation representatives from around Australia. The HCA was formed to show support for homebirth and for Privately Practising Midwives (PPMs) and fight for changes to government policies so that midwives can return to working more autonomously and within their full scope of practice to support home birthing families. They are calling on the government, Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to make the following changes:

  • Come up with a solution to the Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) issue – the exemption for PII for birth, which has been extended 3 times since September 2009, expires on December 31st2019 and will see homebirth midwifery made illegal after that date.  The government should subsidise PII just as they do for Obstetricians.
  • Remove the requirement from the Safety and quality guidelines for privately practising midwivesfor two midwives to attend births at home, which was brought in by the NMBA without appropriate transparency and consultation with consumers or stakeholders, and has led to the demise of midwife assisted homebirth, particularly in rural and regional areas.
  • Remove the NHMRC’s requirement for midwives to secure a written collaborative agreement with an Ob or Dr in order for women to access Medicare rebates. This is a one way power imbalance which is never required in the reverse.
  • Undertake a full inquiry into the increased vexatious reporting of PPMs to AHPRA – almost half of PPMs in Australia have been reported for minor complaints, the vast majority of which were done by hospital staff, not consumers themselves who overwhelmingly report positive experiences with their midwives. These reports, which in almost all instances end up being overturned, result in midwives having their practice restricted, affecting their livelihood and their capacity to care for their clients.

Virginia Maddock from HCA says that government regulation of midwives directly affects women’s choices in how and where women birth, so it is important that consumers get behind midwives and fight for change.

May 5thwill see women around Australia participate in the nationwide ‘Mothers For  Midwives March’ to AHPRA offices in every capital city. For details and info please see the Facebook eventor contactAimee Singor Virginia Maddock. Please sign our associated petitionand join the Homebirth Consortium Australia [HCA]on Facebook to stay up to date with the march and its associated outcomes.

Musings  “That continuity of care was so vital to my mental and emotional well-being during the birth process.” “I want to see that sense of community boosted.” “We are the home-birth community and our midwives are an endangered species now.” “’This march is a chance for the consumers to protest for better working conditions for midwives.” “We need to move beyond awareness raising and move towards political action, so if you are anywhere near the protest locations COME & bring your family.” “This is going to be a very informative event and source of information.” “The way we can make this sustainable is to get everyone looped into a group to make a community.” “It’s so sad to see midwives dropping off like flies.” “The change needs to come from the women.” “We really need to come together, we are stronger together.” “The better working conditions for midwives trickles down to how mothers are and feel  supported in their birth.” Link to Events Aus wide and Homebirth Access in Australia

Who Did I Inner-review? These woman are amazing!

Aimee Sing – Check out her podcast! – AND links below for HomeBirth Access Sydney

Grace Sweeney From –  AND 

Virginia Maddock – AND



The post E49- #MothersForMidwives -Homebirth Consortium Australia -Continuity & Mothers Supporting Midwives appeared first on The Circle of Birth.

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