Obstetrician Dr Nerida Flannery.
Obstetrician Dr Nerida Flannery. John McCutcheon

Doctor says hospital birth safest way to go

THE fundamental difference Coast obstetrician Dr Nerida Flannery sees between hospital births and homebirths is safety.

"Although birthing is a natural process and usually everything goes fine and you don't need any intervention, at the end of the day things can go wrong and when they do it can happen fast and time can be the thing that makes all the difference," Dr Flannery said.

"The advantage of being in a hospital is the resources that are available to you, right there at that time."

Dr Flannery worked at Nambour General Hospital while earning her qualifications but has been in private practice at Buderim for the past four years.

She said she knew of no obstetricians offering homebirth services on the Sunshine Coast but some would offer back-up for homebirths.

"So we'll say 'yes I understand that you are going to have a homebirth and yes I will be your obstetrician should you need to come into a hospital environment' but not that other way where 'I'll go to your home and care for you in that home environment'."

She understood some parents were motivated to have homebirths because they thought it would give them more control over the process.

"They (fear) they will have their choices and their preferences taken away, that they will be overridden and not heard.

"I think that is what a lot of people are trying to achieve by being in their own home and doing it that way."

She said she had noticed a change in attitude across obstetric care.

"In general, that paternalistic attitude of 'we as the doctors know best and you must do what we tell you to do, when we tell you to it' is going by the wayside.

"For example, water birth, which when I first started my training was a way-out, whacky thing to be doing and quite dangerous.

"Now we certainly do water birth at Buderim Private on a routine basis and they are doing it publicly as well."



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