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Home births in Canberra decreasing

24 October 2011 - 3:12pm

Fewer mothers-to-be in Canberra are choosing to give birth at home, according to reports.

In an interview with the Canberra Times, Australian Private Midwives Association (APMA) national president Marie Heath claimed that a lack of professional indemnity insurance for midwives had seen the home births halved since July.

"The number of home births in Canberra assisted by midwives had fallen from about 40 annually to 15 or 20," Heath said.

Neither private health insurance nor Medicare currently covers home birthing.

According to APMA, approximately 56 of Australia's 42,000 midwives had registered for access to Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

''A continuum of care has been shown very clearly to dramatically improve outcomes for women and babies,'' Heath said.

97.5 per cent of Australian women give birth in hospital, and of these almost one-third of women choose private obstetric care for their birth. Pregnancy cover is offered by most private health insurance providers, and may cover prenatal and antenatal costs.

The average hospital stay for new mothers is between three and five days, depending on delivery type.