The following residents of the ACT draw the attention of the Assembly to provide a freestanding Birth Centre in Canberra.
Canberra needs a freestanding birth centre to support the wishes of Canberran women, to keep well women out of hospital, to reduce unnecessary intervention and to offer career opportunities that support our midwives.
Birth centres offer continuity of maternity care which means childbearing women receive the majority of their care from a known midwife. Continuity of care has been shown to be the best model of care for women and their babies during labour and birth, regardless of risk. Research shows that under this model of care there are decreases in rates of caesarean section, premature birth, fetal mortality, stillbirth and neonatal admission to a special care nursery. Furthermore, women love it, reporting high levels of satisfaction with their care experience.
Currently, hundreds of women each year give birth while still on the waiting list for either the Calvary Birth Centre or the Birth Centre at the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children. Furthermore, the Covid-19 pandemic has shown us that it is important for well women to be able to access maternity care outside of hospitals. We have seen increases in women requesting antenatal and postnatal care at home, as well as interest for homebirth.
A freestanding birth centre would expand birth centre places and a home like environment allowing well Canberran women to give birth safely and supported by known midwives.
Your petitioners, therefore, request the Assembly call on the ACT Government to invest in building a freestanding birth centre in the North side of Canberra so as to service the needs of the women and their families in our community.