I write to express my concern about the above bills. I understand that these bills will enable Medicare funding, access to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and professional indemnity premium support for midwives providing care for women to give birth in hospital. Medicare funding for midwifery care is long overdue. It is not acceptable, however, to exclude homebirth from this funding and indemnity arrangement…
On a personal note, I am quite shocked and ashamed that homebirth will no longer be a woman’s free choice in low-risk pregnancies… I feel the decision to outlaw homebirth’s is contrary to women’s rights … Please find a solution for women and babies who homebirth after this date as their lives will be in threat without proper midwifery assisstance. And as a homebirthing mother I will have no choice but to have an unassisted birth at home as this is the place I want to birth my children.
Caroline Flammea, Nick Lovell and daughter Lulu Lovell.
LOVELL (nee Flammea). – Caroline Emily 15.07.1975 – 24.01.2012 Passed away suddenly after giving birth to a beautiful baby girl. Beloved daughter of Jadzia (Jade), loving wife of Nick and exceptional mother of Lulu and Zahra. You taught us how to love Always in our hearts
Does anyone know any new Mums in the Melbourne area?? Please share this post:
“Are there any mothers in the Melbourne area, who could be part of a milk tree? A woman named Caroline died this week while giving birth to her second daughter, Zahra, at home. And the family is seeking donated milk to help bubba along.
If you can help or know someone who can, please contact Eve …
And please send your love & thoughts to Carolines family 3yr old Lulu, 5day old Zahra & husband Nick.”
This is the 4th maternal homebirth death that I’ve heard about in the past 4 years:
A mother bled to death at homebirth in the UK in 2008 and the midwife didn’t know how to start an IV.
A mother died in California.
A mother died in Florida last year apparently from a ruptured uterus while attempting a home VBAC.
And now this tragedy.
We are awating further details on what actually went wrong, but newspaper reports suggest that it happened within 2 hours of the birth, since she was well enough after the birth to hold her baby and since the midwife did not call for an ambulance until 2 hours later.
The likely causes:
massive postpartum hemorrhage
amniotic fluid embolus
seizures due to eclampsia
hemorrhage secondary to HELLP syndrome (a variant of pre-eclampsia)
stroke from elevated blood pressure
previously undiagnosed arterio-venous malformation in the brain
In other words, it is most likely to be a complication of childbirth, although it is possible that it is unrelated.
Homebirth advocates are now scrambling to overcome the cognitive dissonance of having one of their own die at a homebirth. This “claim” from Homebirth Australia is, unfortunately, typical:
… Sadly many women died in Australian hospitals in childbirth last year – should we ban hospital births, too?” Michelle Meares, Homebirth Australia spokesperson said.
Yes, women do die in the hospital, too. Some people who wear seatbelts die in car accidents, but that doesn’t mean seatbelts don’t prevent deaths. Hospitals are like seatbelts. There is no guarantee they can save your life if one of the above six complications occurs in the wake of your baby’s birth, but we can guarantee that you will die if they happen outside of the hospital.
Other homebirth advocates pointed out that more maternal deaths (20) occurred in the hospital in the past year, compared to one maternal death at home. Apparently they think that 20 is a bigger number than one so hospital birth leads to more deaths than homebirth. They don’t seem to understand that comparing absolute numbers is inappropriate. The only valid comparison is that of rates. Yes, there were 20 maternal deaths in the hospital last year. Since nearly 300,000 women gave birth in Australian hospitals, that’s a death rate of 6.6/100,000. There was only 1 maternal death at homebirth, but there were only 750 homebirths. That’s a death rate of 133.3/100,000, a maternal death rate for homebirth more than 20 times higher than the maternal death rate in the hospital.
We can refine the calculations further. Most maternal deaths in the hospital are due to pre-existing medical conditions or serious complications of pregnancy. The maternal death rate for low risk women is probably in the range of 1/100,000 or lower. According to homebirth midwives, this is the first maternal death in 15 years, making a homebirth death rate of 9/100,000. Obviously, that is 9 times higher than the hospital death rate for low risk women. Any way you look at it, homebirth is more dangerous for mothers than hospital birth.
The “argument” advanced by Homebirth Australia doesn’t show that hospital birth is more dangerous than homebirth, but it does make the case that people who can’t even do grade school arithmetic should not be entrusted with the lives of pregnant women and their babies.
Cross posted at The Skeptical OB.