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Episode Info: 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 o...
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