Home Births

Baby Ezra is playing in the very room he was born just 3 months ago - a home birth that very soon will effectively become illegal

This basically means for women wanting to have home births with a midwife in Private Practice will be illegal

In W.A there are two ways a woman can deliver at home with a midwife - through the state funded Community Midwifery programme for those people living within 50km of the CBD - or by hiring a privately practicing Midwife. Very soon the second option will be outlawed.

It's an issue of choice this legislation is saying that you cannot have your baby where you want to have it and with whom you want to have it

Sally Westbury is a privately practicing midwife, she says the federal government is about to introduce legislation that would make it illegal for midwives to operate without indemnity insurance - while the government plans to cover midwives in hospitals - those working outside the government health system won't be covered.

A side effect of all these changes is that independent midwifery will be illegal and there's even a fine associated with that of $30000 if you actually attend a home birth without professional indemnity insurance.

Independent midwives already operate without indemnity insurance because no-one will cover them - it's a risk they've had to wear for years, but it's a risk the government will no longer allow them to take.

Midwives will need to have professional indemnity insurance in order to be registered and if they can't work and they can be fined. That is really great for most midwives and everyone should have professional indemnity insurance, but there's no professional indemnity insurance on the market for midwives working in a private practice

While in Perth woman can still access the state's community programme - it's only for those birth's considered low risk - that excludes women like Kirsty Merlo who had previously had a caesarean.

If those changes were to go through I would have to go to hospital regardless or free birth without a midwife which is something I'm not willing to do personally but then I'm also not willing to go to a hospital it would be a very big decision to have any more children or not.

The concern now is - those women considered higher risk or those living outside the metro area - including Mandurah will be forced into illegal - or potentially dangerous births - if they chose to stay at home

These women if they cannot get a midwife may choose to have an unassisted home birth and that's really dangerous and that's not in the nest interests of these women - do you think that would really happen? Yes.