Sunshine Coast mum of two Tori Gibson
Sunshine Coast mum of two Tori Gibson

The childbirth choice that may get cheaper

THE national Medicare Taskforce will today consider adding home births to its list of rebates.

It comes as The Courier-Mail can reveal the number of home births in Queensland has tripled in the last seven years.

Queensland peri-natal statistics from 2011 shows the home birth rate in 2011 was one in every 1000 births and jumped to three in every 1000 babies in 2017.

"We come across a lot of women who would love to have a home birth with the continued care of a midwife but it's financially out of reach," said Teresa Walsh, from New Life Midwifery in Ipswich.

Private midwives attend the home of the expectant mother for the labour but they see the same midwives through their pregnancy and post-birth.

Home-birthed baby Cora Glisson, four weeks, of Noosaville. Photographer: Liam Kidston
Home-birthed baby Cora Glisson, four weeks, of Noosaville. Photographer: Liam Kidston

"The numbers of home births are relatively small in the birthing data but women are doing their research and they see that home births are being proven as safe. Midwives work very closely with health services to make plans for the woman in case of an emergency," Ms Walsh said.

The number of home births in the state in 2017 was 168. Currently there are few private midwifery practices outside urban areas.

Some women feel less pressured in birthing at home than in hospital. Picture: iStock
Some women feel less pressured in birthing at home than in hospital. Picture: iStock

Maternity Consumer Network head Alecia Staines said: "While Queensland has seen a steady increase in the rate of home births, there are many areas where demand by women exceeds the small number of private practising midwives who attend home births. We are very hopeful that rebates for home birth will soon be added to Medicare in order to help make this option more affordable for women, not to mention save the hospital resources too."

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Sunshine Coast mum of two Tori Gibson had her second baby Cora at home almost four weeks ago. She had her first child Neo in hospital.

"It cost me $5000 to have Cora at home and it was worth every dollar," Ms Gibson said.

"I built up a relationship with the midwives and felt they knew what I wanted and would try to accommodate my wishes.

"I felt safer and more listened to than in the hospital birth. I was relaxed, there was no time pressures or panic.

"I enjoyed the experience a lot more, and would recommend it to anyone."

Ms Gibson had a drug-free natural birth with two midwives present.

"It would be great if Medicare contributed to some of the costs and made this kind of birthing more affordable to everyone," she said.



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