Not addressing the root cause: an analysis of submissions made to the South Australian Government on a Proposal to Protect Midwifery Practice

Article


Rigg, Elizabeth, Schmied, Virginia, Peters, Kath and Dahlan, Hannah. 2015. "Not addressing the root cause: an analysis of submissions made to the South Australian Government on a Proposal to Protect Midwifery Practice." Women and Birth. 28 (2), pp. 121-128. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wombi.2014.12.005
Article Title

Not addressing the root cause: an analysis of submissions made to the South Australian Government on a Proposal to Protect Midwifery Practice

ERA Journal ID30465
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsRigg, Elizabeth (Author), Schmied, Virginia (Author), Peters, Kath (Author) and Dahlan, Hannah (Author)
Journal TitleWomen and Birth
Journal Citation28 (2), pp. 121-128
Number of Pages8
Year2015
PublisherElsevier
Place of PublicationNetherlands
ISSN1871-5192
1878-1799
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wombi.2014.12.005
Web Address (URL)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1871519214001280
Abstract

Background: Reports of unregulated birth workers attending birth at home, with no registered midwife in attendance (freebirth), have become more frequent in Australia in recent years. A Coronial Inquiry (2012) into the deaths of three babies born at home in South Australia resulted in a call for legislation to restrict the practice of midwifery to registered midwives. A Proposal to Protect Midwifery Practice in South Australia was issued as a consultation paper in January 2013.

Aim: To report the views of those making a submission to the Proposal to Protect Midwifery Practice in South Australia.

Methods: Thirty submissions to the South Australian Government were downloaded, read and thematically analysed.

Findings: Twenty-five (81%) submissions supported the legislation, 5 (16%) opposed it and 2 (6%) were neither for nor against. Support for the proposed legislation was strong, however the underlying root causes that have led to the rise of UBWs attending homebirth in Australia were not addressed. Recommendations called for all stakeholders to work with women to develop a better framework of care that respected and met their needs and choices whilst safeguarding maternal and neonatal health.

Conclusions: The Proposal to Protect Midwifery Practice may promote greater protection of midwifery practice however, Private Indemnity Insurance (PII), collaborative agreements and power struggles associated with the medical domination of childbirth continue to marginalise homebirth and prevent women from accessing the care they want and need. These unresolved issues represent the root causes for UBWs attending homebirth; hence the proposal is only a partial solution.

Keywordsmidwives; home birth; unregulated birth workers; Doulas; midwifery regulation
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020420499. Midwifery not elsewhere classified
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Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Western Sydney
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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