Jo Clay MLA will table community petitions with over 3000 signatures calling for a freestanding birth centre. She will also call on the Assembly to design a northside freestanding birth centre, expand midwife-led continuity of care and support Birthing on Country.
“The Canberra community have been calling for a freestanding birth centre for almost a hundred years,” said Jo Clay MLA, member for Ginninderra and ACT Greens Spokesperson for Women. “New Zealand, Canada, the UK, Townsville and Mackay have all shown freestanding birth centres work. Canberra does not yet have one and it’s time we did,” said Ms Clay.
“Birth is not an illness. But in Canberra, the vast majority of women and birthing people currently have no choice but to give birth inside a hospital. Even our hospital-based birth centres have waitlists hundreds long. Being able to access a hospital-based birth is sometimes necessary - but we need to enable healthy women and birthing people who want to give birth elsewhere to do so safely and with support by a known midwife.
“I welcome the Government’s recent Maternity In Focus package and I’m delighted to see the Government say they support midwife-led continuity of care. Unfortunately the current package does not give Canberra the services and choices we need.”
“The place where you give birth matters," said midwife Kai Hodgkin. "Births in free-standing birth centres have fewer unnecessary interventions like episiotomy and forceps. Most births can be safely managed in a free-standing birth centre. In the rare event of a birth requiring an urgent caesarean section, rapid transfer to a nearby hospital is achievable within current guidelines."
“I was lucky enough to get a place in the Birth Centre at the Centenary Hospital for all three of my children,” said Canberra mum and petitioner, Abbie McMillan-Maher. “I had the midwife I knew, which made me feel safe, supported and heard. I had three beautiful, unmedicated and intervention-free births. It's something you remember for the rest of your life. I really wish all women could access the kind of experience I had, in a supported place, with a midwife they know and trust.”