Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 24 November 2022) . . Page.. 3855 ..
everyone. They are 24 per cent less likely to have a pre-term birth, and they are 16 per cent less likely to have an episiotomy. Women’s bodies matter
The Birth Centre dinner was a wonderful celebration of how far we have come, but it was also a necessary reinvigoration for the next generation to take on the matter of continuing to advocate for positive change. There is still work to be done.
A caesarean section is an important, life-saving intervention for 10 to 15 per cent of women and babies. But in Canberra our rate is 34 per cent and it has been increasing over the last decade. Midwifery-led continuity of care reduces the caesarean rate and it reduces the cost to the Australian healthcare system by 22 per cent. It is also better for midwives. Midwives are telling me, and the research confirms this, that the ones who work in continuity of care are less burnt out and less anxious than the midwives who work in fragmented models. The place of giving birth matters. The Birth Centre matters.
I would love to offer my congratulations to everyone who has been involved in the Canberra Birth Centre over the last 30 years. I would like to finish with another quote from the night, from Alison Chandra, who was head of midwifery at the old Royal Canberra Hospital in the 1980s and was one of the yarwun bullan instrumental in the early Birth Centre:
Let us never forget the importance of having a Birth Centre as the base for midwife led continuity programs, including home birth, and maintaining a designated space where the majority of women on those programs can, and indeed should, birth.
Health—Canberra Birth Centre
MS DAVIDSON (Murrumbidgee—Assistant Minister for Families and Community Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Justice Health, Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Veterans and Seniors) (5.55): Nurses and midwives know how to mark big moments. I recently attended the Canberra Birth Centre’s 30th birthday party, where the midwives have a lot to celebrate.
I have some history with the Canberra Birth Centre, having been one of the founding members of the second-generation Friends of the Birth Centre group, and past convenor; ACT Branch President of the Maternity Coalition, when their catchcry was, “Every Woman, Every Choice”; and Deputy CEO at Women’s Health Matters. I was one of the community representatives consulted for the design of the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children, on behalf of the Friends of the Birth Centre.
I would like to thank Chris Fowler for organising the Birth Centre birthday party, and Alison Chandra, Nola Wong and Janet Phillips, whose work I have drawn from for this speech.
Canberra’s Birth Centre was conceived in the 1980s, when women around the world were asking for more choice and continuity of carer during pregnancy and birth. In those days women first met the midwife caring for them in labour when they arrived at the labour ward door.