“The first question is, ‘Is that safe?’” says Hilary Rorison from the Australian College of Midwives. “The second question is, ‘Oh, can you do that?’”
Rorison says in some other countries, like the UK, home birth is “not such a big deal”.
“Home birth is part of their system. It’s more normalised.”
Mums and non-mums answer questions about childbirth with very telling results.
In Australia, only 0.3 per cent of women have a planned home birth. That’s around a tenth of the number that give birth at home in the UK.
There are a small number of publicly funded home birth programs operating from Australian hospitals, and women can also choose to give birth at home with private midwives.
So what’s like to have a midwife-led home birth in Australia?
Rorison, who is based in Adelaide, has spent four years as a home birth midwife.
“There’s something really special about women labouring at home that is quite difficult to bring into a hospital environment,” she tells Mamamia.
Rorison says women who choose to give birth at home with a midwife tend to be “highly educated and very informed”.
For a woman to have a publicly funded home birth, she needs to go through what Rorison calls a “safety check”. That takes into account their medical history, mental health and their social situation.
Women can be ruled out if they’ve had previous medical complications, such as a caesarean birth for their first child, or if they’re above a certain age or a certain BMI. However, privately funded midwives might be willing to take on some of these women.
“It’s certainly not accessible to everyone and it’s certainly not safe for everyone,” Rorison says.