Evidence based research continues to be clear that continuity of care is classed as the gold standard in maternity care. This is because women and their whanau are more engaged in wellbeing, health, and preventive care and because midwives have a broader understanding of the woman they support through birth. This helps them identify arising issues, and support a birthing mother in partnership. There is increasing evidence that the overall lifespan and health status of both mother and baby are better within continuity of care model. Studies show that chronic disease outcomes are improved/prevented or reduced. Not only this, but satisfaction rates are high for both women and midwives.
Countries with the lowest infant mortality employ midwives as the primary maternity care providers for the majority of women. New Zealand, remains one of the top, safe places to birth. Having trained homebirth midwife assistance at birth makes birthing at home the safe option for well women. Evidence continues to support the benefits of midwifery care,
Karen Gulliland, who has led the College of Midwives for 30 years continues to affirm that homebirth is a human right, and that the midwifery profession has always strongly supported women’s choice in place of birth.
To what extent are women free to choose where to give birth in our current maternity climate? What of all the women struggling to find a homebirth midwife to provide their care? Birth choice is a core human right, but do we have this if women cannot access a midwife to attend them at home for birth?
Many areas in New Zealand are currently experiencing dramatic LMC midwifery shortages, particularly in rural areas and areas of high deprivation. Better outcomes at birth come from having a qualified midwifery/medical professional at your side. What will our outcomes be when there are not enough midwives to care for our birthing whanau?
Many countries around the world are fiercely campaigning to attain our gold standard midwifery continuity of care system, and homebirth system, which is evidence based. So why is our own government failing to support a system that is fundamentally an excellent system. Any system will falter when chronically underfunded. The problem is not the system. It is the money.