The majority of births currently occur in hospital and in light of social distancing this places a significant risk to women birthing. During this COVID-19 outbreak it would be of significant advantage to reduce admissions to hospital and minimise the spread of the disease by providing for maternity care within the home or alternatively, because all elective surgery has been cancelled there is the capacity to designate a ‘fever free’ maternity hospital site – one hospital, per geographic area, can be made ‘fever free’.
I wonder how many women may choose to freebirth to avoid contact with a hospital during the COVID-19 crisis as there are very few obstetricians or midwives currently working in the home.
We at SMFA are calling for a safe place to birth during this COVID 19 pandemic.
All pregnant women deserve a virus free site to birth. Having to walk into a fever hospital site is stressful enough without entering it in labour. Home birth is one safe option for the well woman, most especially if she is being cared for through the ‘continuity of midwifery care’ model.
Australia faces a challenge in achieving high quality, woman-centred maternity care, in a safe respectful environment.
Firstly, in providing maternity services that honours the childbearing woman’s human right to respect, autonomy, dignity and the attainment of the highest level of health.
Secondly, achieving maternity care that does no harm. The World Health Organisation states that “In normal birth there should be a valid reason to interfere with the natural process; 85% of births do not require interventions. As caesarean section rates rise towards 10% across a population, the number of maternal and newborn deaths decreases. When the rate goes above 10%, there is no evidence that mortality rates improve.” (WHO, 2015).
Thirdly, in achieving effective, efficient and appropriate use of the funds available, while maximising the health outcomes for society. The financial costs associated with current maternity care practices create a demand for health services that are not clinically indicated/evidence based and limit access to clinical interventions for those who really need them.
Current maternity services provide less than optimal maternity care to the childbearing women of Australia creating health, economic & social inequities.
@SMFA_au #safemotherhood4all #respectfulmaternitycare