The death of a twin baby boy who died during a homebirth in Adelaide last week is being investigated by SA police.
It comes four years after the state’s deputy coroner recommended widespread changes for homebirths, after an inquest found the deaths of three babies could have been prevented if they had been born in a hospital.
Australian Medical Association president Janice Fletcher said while she could not comment on last week’s case specifically, the State Government guidelines recommend against multiple births at home.
“Pregnancy is a natural process, but it’s risky, and that’s the reason why SA Health put together a policy for planned births at home in South Australia,” she said.
“The key features are that a woman should have … no medical problems, a singleton, so that’s one baby, not twins or triplets or quadruplets.
“And the pregnancy [should be] between 37 weeks and 42 weeks, because we know that earlier pregnancies and later pregnancies have higher risks of complications.
“So the intention is that if you meet those inclusion criteria, that you be assessed by a registered practitioner — and that’s either a registered midwife or a registered medical practitioner — to discuss the options.”
Dr Fletcher said a registered midwife should always assess each case.
“There’s a tension or a fine line between the desire to have a birth naturally at home and the risk associated with specific pregnancy criteria,” she said.
“So it’s who has the overriding right I guess, to make decisions. People can choose different models of care that are not necessarily bound by such policies.”
South Australia’s guidelines for planned home births were reviewed in 2013.
It applies to registered practitioners who care for women planning a birth at home.
This post originally appeared on ABC News.
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