Home | Industry & Reform | “We create a lot of problems by what we do to women in hospital”: home birth in the spotlight

“We create a lot of problems by what we do to women in hospital”: home birth in the spotlight

The Royal Hospital for Women in Randwick, NSW, is offering a homebirth option for low-risk pregnancies. One of only 14 public hospitals across the country currently doing so, the new scheme provides the support of two experienced midwives at no cost, an option normally only available privately.

Contrary to popular opinion, recent research suggests that in the case of low-risk pregnancies, homebirths are safer, and that women planning hospital births show “statistically significantly lower odds of normal vaginal birth than in other planned settings” (Midwifery 62 (2018) 240–255).

“Women experienced severe perineal trauma or haemorrhage at a lower rate in planned homebirths than in obstetric units,” the authors wrote.

A spokesperson from the Royal Hospital for Women said of the scheme that "care for women choosing homebirth follow the hospital’s current birthing guidelines and all of the hospital’s usual birth protocols are applied".

"In addition, NSW Ambulance has a collaborative agreement with the Royal – if complications arise for the woman or the baby at home they are transferred to the delivery suite or Newborn Care Centre," the spokesperson said.

This research has implications for healthcare costs countrywide, and for a more widespread rollout of the homebirth scheme.

Nursing Review spoke to one of the study’s authors, Professor Hannah Dahlen, of Western Sydney University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, to hear more about it.

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