HOME births could become a popular choice for Bunbury mothers after a government funded community midwifery program spread to the city.
A growing interest in giving birth at home in the South West has previously been dampened by steep costs and a long list of requirements.
But the new program could make home birth an affordable option for eligible women.
Southern Country Health Service South West nurse director Marianne Slattery said local mothers had expressed a desire for alternative birth options, including home birth.
She said the new support system would also decrease the demand on Bunbury Regional Hospital’s maternity ward, which has been over capacity for the past three months.
The Community Midwifery Program has operated in Perth for more than 15 years providing support before, during and after birth and giving women a choice about where they want to give birth.
It is described as a “unique service for women experiencing a low risk pregnancy” and aims to protect, promote and support normal birth, with a high percentage of clients choosing to give birth in water.
Bunbury woman Tamara Stone is a trained birth companion or Doula and has provided support to women before and after birth and in hospital.
Mrs Stone said there had been a growing interest among Bunbury mothers to have a home birth.
“There are many reasons why women want to give birth at home – some women are scared of hospitals because of unwanted interventions, they may be pressured by time constraints or pain medication,” Mrs Stone said.
“At home there is more freedom, they are comfortable and can have as many friends and family around as a support system.”
Mrs Stone said a lot of Bunbury women would not know that home births were an option or were steered away from it by their doctors.
“In the end it’s a mother’s right to choose – women should have access to all information on birth choices and as long as they have educated themselves, they can make an informed decision.”
z For more information on the pregnancy and birth support group at Milligan community centre, call 9721 8944 or go to www.milligan.org.au