Just after I discovered I was pregnant with my first child, almost eight years ago, the insurance rug was pulled out from under Australian midwifery's feet. Midwives operating outside of hospitals were suddenly unable to find insurance in Australia.
Before I fell pregnant I had read Michel Odent's Birth Reborn, and was excited about the idea of being pregnant and of giving birth. How distressing then to discover that in Canberra my only option for midwife led care was the birth centre at the Canberra Hospital. But I was lucky - I found a place at the birth centre despite not booking in until I was seven weeks pregnant. I have friends now who have been put on the waiting list after calling the day they found out they were pregnant.
And now the situation in Australia is set to become even worse. From July 2010 midwives will not be able to practice in Australia without insurance. Private midwives will have to cease homebirth practice, move overseas to work or face prosecution. You know women will still have homebirths, but they will be more likely to be unattended by skilled support. And many other women will end up clogging the hospital system simply because they cannot find a midwife to work with them at home.
Please Minister Roxon, do something about this. All the research shows that homebirths are at least as safe as hospital births for pregnancies of normal risk. And that midwife led care leads to lower intervention and better outcomes for women than obstetrician led care. The Government supported private obstetricians with insurance - make this happen for midwives as well. Not for their sake, but for the sake of women all over Australia.
I just found out about this, over at the rachel papers (thanks Rachel).
What you can do:
1. Please sign this petition.
2. Watch the "Save private midwifery" video at Homebirth Australia.
3. Write to the Health Minister, Nicola Roxon and your local Federal MP.