Here are some gorgeous children who were born at home in the Illawarra.

Can I have a homebirth?
Is homebirth safe?
What are the Benefits?
How do I organise a homebirth?
I'm kinda interested but want to know more...
Wollongong Hospital Homebirth Service

Can I have a Homebirth?

Midwives in private practice and any midwives working as the primary carer in hospitals use the Australian College of Midwives Consultation and Referral Guidelines that have been endorsed by the Obstetric profession.

These set out strict guidelines for Consultation and Referral which suggest the referral protocols for risk factors.
Most private midwives see birth as a natural, life changing event not an illness so it is unlikely that you would be "excluded".
In fact if you have risk factors continuity of care - that is seeing the same midwife throughout your pregnancy is likely to lead to a better outcome than seeing many different people in the medical model of care.

Is homebirth safe?

There is alot of evidence to show that homebirth is a safe choice.

Study 1: "Outcome of planned home and planned hospital births in low risk pregnancies: prospective study in midwifery practices in the Netherlands (BMJ 1996;313:1309-1313)"
Conclusions: The outcome of planned home births is at least as good as that of planned hospital births in women at low risk receiving midwifery care in the Netherlands.
Source link

Study 2:"Outcomes of planned home births with certified professional midwives: large prospective study in North America (BMJ 2005;330:1416 (18 June), doi:10.1136/bmj.330.7505.1416 )"
Conclusions: Planned home birth for low risk women in North America using certified professional midwives was associated with lower rates of medical intervention but similar intrapartum and neonatal mortality to that of low risk hospital births in the United States.
Source link

NSW Health is supportive of homebirth, and has a policy directive regarding access to homebirth in NSW. The South East Illawarra Health Service is also supportive of homebirth.
Homebirth Policy Directive NSW Health

Fish Can't See the Water - by Marsden Wagner - The need to humanise birth - addresses safety of homebirth in Australia and other developed nations Source link

What are the Benefits?

Many women who choose to birth their babies at home experience the benefits of one-to-one midwifery care, with the midwife of their choice.
Most midwives who attend homebirths work privately. But since 2009, there is a publically funded homebirth service available through the WOllongong Hospital Midwifery Group Practice. Here are some comments of a number of Illawarra Women on their homebirth experience:

“The guarantee of having the midwife of my choice attending my birth was extremely important to me and knowing that there was not going to be a change of shift halfway through my labour was a comforting thought.”

“So many fears seem to come to the fore when you’re pregnant and to have a familiar and trusted person or persons to guide you through makes all the difference in getting to a place where you can let go and go with the experience.”

“After my homebirths, there was no disruptive ‘packing up and moving’ as I experienced immediately after my hospital births. Instead I moved a metre from the pool to the lounge and watched my husband and midwife cook a meal!”

“Being at home is a really big part of it – an environment you feel totally ‘at home’ in. Feeling free to go into whichever room you need to be in – the bath or shower if you want. I’m sure I was so much more relaxed because I was at home and we all know how relaxing can help the whole birthing process.”

“All the decisions regarding tests and interventions were mine, not based on arbitrary policy. My midwife provided advice and resources to assist me in my decision making.”

“Knowing that intervention during labour would be minimal, any intervention which may take place is necessary and I am part of that decision making.”

“As a woman who has had a previous caesarean, a homebirth was the only way in which I could access continuity of care under the midwifery model. I felt much safer during my homebirth than I did during my VBAC at the hospital, where I did not have my own midwife, and there was no midwife present for much of the labour.”

“Knowing that my midwife knew me well and knew what emotional and physical state I was going into the labour and birth with was great, also she knew what had been going on around me and how that might affect me. She spoke and did little during the birth, but when she did need to step in with words of support and encouragement they were exactly what I needed, not some rote response to a woman in labour.”

“I really enjoyed the postnatal care provided during those first two week. Breastfeeding was properly established and being visited during this time gave me a wonderful sense of being cared for.”

How do I organise a homebirth?

Check out our list of private midwives who attend births in the Illawarra. Contact a midwife with any questions you have.
If you hire an private midwife, the costs are funded entirely by the birthing woman, there is currently no medicare rebate available. This is currently under review as part of the Federal Maternity Review. Some Health Insurance companies offer a rebate for homebirth.

Wollongong Hospital Homebirth Service

Wollongong Hospital now has a publically funded homebirth service.

This service is an extension of the existing Wollongong Hospital Midwifery Group Practice (MGP), which is a caseload midwifery program. Homebirth will be available as a birthing option to women who are accepted into the Midwifery Group Practice, and meet the eligible criteria.
Since the existing MGP is already oversubscribed, women who are interested in this service need to book in very early to be sure of a place.
This service has been modelled from the existing St George Hospital Homebirth Service. Some details of this service are provided below:
Evaluation of Publicly Funded Homebirth Program in South East Sydney Illawarra Area health service

I'm kinda interested but want to know more...

Come to an Illawarra Birth Choices Meeting (we meet monthly), It is very likely that a number of women there have chosen homebirth, and will be happy answer questions.

Homebirth Forums, Articles, Opinion

Below are some external links to Australian Homebirth websites.
Homebirth Australia homebirthaustralia.org

Homebirth Access Sydney www.homebirthsydney.org.au

Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond www.pregnancy.com.au

Joyous Birth www.joyousbirth.info

Homebirth blog - Lisa Barrett www.homebirth.net.au

Home Midwifery Association (Qld) www.homebirth.org.au