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Homebirth trial for Canberra women

HerCanberra Team

More women will have the option to give birth in their home as part of the first publicly funded trial in the ACT.

Minister for Health Simon Corbell said the ACT Health Publicly Funded Homebirth Service will provide up to 24 births each year.

“Pregnancy is an exciting time for women and their families, and I’m pleased we can now provide women more choice when they have their baby,” Minister Corbell said.

“The three-year trial will be available to eligible Canberra women at low risk of experiencing childbirth complications and who reside within a 30 minute catchment area of the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children.”

Mr Corbell said the trial is an extension of the current birthing services offered by the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children.

“Two qualified midwives will be present at each birth and will work closely with a team of midwives, obstetricians and neonatologists,” Mr Corbell said.

“For participating women, there will be rigorous eligibility screening and continuous risk assessments undertaken throughout the pregnancy and labour to ensure they can give birth at home safely.

“The is the first time a home birth has been available in the public system and it brings the ACT in line with other states and territories who already offer publicly funded homebirth services.

“The government has listened to calls from the community to provide this safe alternative and expect there to be considerable interest.”

Applications for the trial will open in October this year, with one to two homebirths to be provided each month from February 2017.

“A homebirth is a unique and special opportunity and I encourage expectant parents interested to seek more information from ACT Health,” Mr Corbell said.

“Homebirth is supported by the Australian College of Midwives andevidence also shows it as a safe alternative to a hospital birth when the woman is at low risk of experiencing birthing complications.

“Once the trial is complete, ACT Health will conduct an evaluation to consider continuing the service.”

The trial will be delivered through the Canberra Midwifery Program.

Information about the trial of the ACT Health Publicly Funded Homebirth Service, including the eligibility criteria and the defined catchment area is available at www.health.act.gov.au.

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