Media Release: Coroner’s Report

Media Release in response to the recommendations in Coroner’s Report: Whānau of Casey Nathan, for immediate release, 3 February 2015

It is with the greatest empathy to the whānau of Casey Nathan and her son Kymani that Home Birth Aotearoa releases this statement in response to the recommendations in the Coroner’s Report.

Home Birth Aotearoa maintains that the New Zealand model of partnership between midwife and mother is the best in the world.  We promote informed consent and personal responsibility for choices in pregnancy and childbirth.

Home Birth Aotearoa rejects the recommendation of the Coroner, based on the findings in this one singular case, to make changes to midwifery training that include hospital internships for new graduates.  Research, including the recent Birth Place study in the UK, repeatedly shows that the safest place for a low risk birth to take place is at home, followed by a primary birthing unit.  Any changes made to midwifery training in New Zealand should involve more time spent at births at home and in primary units.

Home Birth Aotearoa National Coordinator Rachel Yeats states “midwives who have a better understanding of ‘normal’ birth will be better able to distinguish an ‘abnormal’ birth and therefore have better judgement of when to make referrals outside of their scope of practise.”

Home Birth Aotearoa supports midwives and their integral role in birthing families. We recognise the skill, wisdom and commitment midwives bring to the cause of physiological birth. The model of partnership we enjoy in New Zealand is world class and to be protected at all costs.

Home Birth Aotearoa is in full support of the enhanced mentoring of graduate midwives as part of the Midwifery First Year Of Practice Programme.  We encourage mothers and midwives to have students present at their home births so that a greater appreciation for normal, natural birth – and its reverse – can be attained.

We do not support the vast criticisms of the midwifery system based on one singular case.  We do not believe that undermining the midwifery profession in our nation will be beneficial to families.

“Birthing mothers need to have faith in their lead maternity carers in order to feel safe.  Expressing doubt that our midwives have been adequately trained – when our maternity system is internationally regarded as of the highest class – does not make mothers feel safe”, says Home Birth Aotearoa Trustee Sian Hannagan.

Home Birth Aotearoa acknowledges that the complication in this case is extremely rare and it is thus difficult to control against many factors including the model of care.