24 December 2009

Hooray for homebirth

Well, hell has frozen over.

Just when I thought that the fight for homebirth in Victoria was stuck at the corner of 56th and Never Gonna Happen, Health Minister Daniel Andrews just announced that the State Government had allocated $400,000 for midwife-led home births through Casey Hospital in Berwick and Sunshine Hospital in Melbourne's west. A regional health service will also participate, but the Government has yet to decide which one.

For women who have relatively uncomplicated pregnancies, this is fantastic news and as long as the trial works over the next year, the project will be expanded throughout the public health system. While undeniably this is no good for women who may want to have a homebirth following previous caesareans (VBACs) or who are considered to be 'high risk' (e.g. obesity, 'older' mums), the fact that the State Government has actually listened to the enormous amount of feedback provided by homebirthing mums and midwives is astounding and shows real promise for a health system that can provide high quality care for women who don't want to birth in hospital.


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