Expanding the midwife-led Birth Centre at the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children, and exploring the establishment of a stand-alone birth centre, will support more pregnant women to deliver their babies in less clinical environments, say the ACT Greens.
The Birth Centre at the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children supports women who wish to have their babies in a midwife-led environment, supporting birth as a natural life event.
Yet a recent Legislative Assembly Committee report found the Birth Centre has long wait lists and often expectant mothers do not get access to the centre as per their wishes. In addition, some women would prefer to access midwife-led care in a stand-alone birth centre rather than within the hospital.
The Greens have long called for expansion of the birth centre model, as the evidence and demand for this maternity service model is clear; as well as further considering the feasibility of a standalone birthing centre.
It comes today as the ACT Greens released their plan for improved maternity services across Canberra, including improved perinatal mental health and wellbeing, increased midwife staffing levels, mandated minimum nurse-to-patient ratios, expanded criteria for home-birthing and more support for vulnerable communities.
As stated by ACT Greens spokesperson for Women Emma Davidson:
“Many women do not want to give birth in a highly clinical setting, and for women with low-risk of complications, a Birth Centre offers a supportive, midwife-led environment, with the additional security of being close to hospital facilities if necessary.
“The Birth Centre at Canberra Hospital is highly regarded, but the wait list is simply too long. Every woman should be able to choose where and with whom she gives birth, but for some women the choices are limited by not having enough beds in the Birth Centre.”
“The Greens know that Birthing Centres are a great option for so many parents, and we want these options expanded so more parents can access it.”
The full package is available at: greens.org.au/act/maternity-services