Planned home and hospital births in South Australia, 1991–2006: differences in outcomes

Hannah G Dahlen, Caroline S E Homer, Sally K Tracy and Andrew M Bisits
Med J Aust 2010; 192 (12): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2010.tb03721.x
Published online: 21 June 2010

To the Editor: The aim of the study by Kennare and colleagues1 was to establish data on home and hospital birth outcomes for the period 1991–2006, before the Policy for Planned Birth at Home in South Australia was introduced in 2007.2 One significant shortcoming of the study was the lack of data regarding the type of birth attendant, the degree of cooperation with the local hospital and the quality of transfer arrangements. Currently, there are virtually no home birth policies in Australia governing women’s access to qualified midwives with hospital visiting rights that enable appropriate transfer. Women who intend to have a home birth are forced to rely on the charity of midwives who provide care without professional indemnity insurance. Failing this, women are known to give birth without a midwife.

  • Hannah G Dahlen1
  • Caroline S E Homer2
  • Sally K Tracy3
  • Andrew M Bisits4

  • 1 University of Western Sydney, Sydney, NSW.
  • 2 University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, NSW.
  • 3 University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW.
  • 4 John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, NSW.


Competing interests:

Hannah Dahlen is the Vice President of the Australian College of Midwives. Caroline Homer is an active member of the Australian College of Midwives and was on the Review Team for the Review of Homebirths in Western Australia (2007–2008), funded by the WA Department of Health.


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