Mothers given a birthing choice

Bron Moir and Guy Osborne with their five-month-old daughter Ava Osborne.
Bron Moir and Guy Osborne with their five-month-old daughter Ava Osborne. Jacklyn Wagner

GIVING BIRTH at home may not be every mother's cup of tea, but having the choice should be their right according to new mum Bronwyn Moir.

The new mum and midwife said an agreement between state and federal health ministers would assist expecting mothers to access a range of birthing options rather than just those in the hospital system.

Last week federal and state health ministers agreed to extend the professional indemnity insurance exemption for privately practising midwives and agreed to vary the determination on collaborative arrangements required of midwives.

The new agreement means that midwives no longer need to directly collaborate with doctors and instead can collaborate with services themselves.

"Women should be able to decide where they give birth and who they give birth with," Ms Moir said.

"This new decision means women will have more choice by giving them the ability to choose a care provider and birth place."

The new agreement allows women to access Medicare rebates for some midwifery services.

Ms Moir said that she had wanted to have a planned homebirth, but could not afford to get a private midwife.

Ms Moir suggested that she, like many other midwives, had wanted to practise as a homebirth midwife for some time, but felt she was not well enough supported by the previous system.

"This reprieve makes me more optimistic that I can get into this sort of practice."

Australian College of Midwives spokeswoman Hannah Dahlen welcomed the news saying the organisation had been working for two years to change inadequate government legislation.

"This agreement recognizes midwifes as competent health professional," Ms Dahlen said.

"Midwifes will be able to collaborate with a range of health professionals."

Ms Dahlen said the previous determination legislation, which required midwives to collaborate with doctors, had had very little success.

Ms Dahlen said decisions on birthing should be about women and not about the competing against other health interests.

Topics:  babies child birth health hospitals midwives mothers

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