I am writing today with a foggy brain that didn't assume the horizontal until after two thismorning. But that's what midwives do, after all. I do hope this brief discussion makes sense.
We (the community of independent midwives and homebirth parents) are all wondering what will happen to homebirth after July next year. If you are not aware of the issues, please scroll down in this blog, and go to the MIPP blog for more information and links.
I've been busy with a cluster of births, and haven't had time to be worried yet, but I know some of my clients are concerned. I just have lots of unanswered questions, such as ...
What will be the impact of the midwifery changes announced in the federal budget on my ability to practice midwifery (and make a living)?
(I am writing in the first person here - that's what people seem to do on their blogs - but I know it applies well beyond my personal situation!)
With the requirement for indemnity insurance for registration from 1 July 2010, and the government's provision of indemnity insurance &c for 'eligible midwives' from 1 November 2010, what happens to my ability to earn a living, and to the women who want me to attend them professionally, during those four months? (assuming that the announced time frame will be adhered to) How can I be sure that I will be an eligible midwife?
and the BIG question:
WHAT ABOUT HOMEBIRTH?
There are no publicly funded homebirth options in my area, and even if there were, some women would prefer to engage a midwife privately to come into their home to provide midwifery services. Some women booked with me would be excluded from any service that is 'risk managed' to current hospital standards - those who have had more than six babies (they should be considered super birthers by that stage), those who have had one or more previous caesareans, those whose babies don't want to be born before that magical 42 week mark, those who are a bit too old, a bit too young, to tall, too short, or whatever.
Does this mean that I am ignorant or careless about risk?
Does this mean that women who choose my care are being ignorant or careless about their own safety or the safety of their babies?
I'm not going to say a blanket no, or yes. It all depends. No life event, and particularly not birth, can be risk free. Home and hospital both have their own sets of risks and uncertainties.
I don't know what's going to happen about homebirth.
I would encourage anyone who is interested to work at keeping yourself informed, and to take action in whatever way you can.
Keep an eye on the blogs, forums, email groups, and professional journals that are writing about midwifery and homebirth.
Read everything with a critical eye.
Be prepared to ask how would [ ] affect me - the political is personal.
Plan if you can to attend the Homebirth Rights rally in Canberra, 7 September, and tell others about it.