It's expected the birth service could be re-opened at the Murwillumbah Hospital in mid-October.
It's expected the birth service could be re-opened at the Murwillumbah Hospital in mid-October. Contributed

Midwifery births could spread to Tweed Hospital

HOMEBIRTH and midwife lead birthing services are being considered by the Northern NSW Local Health District for Tweed and Murwillumbah hospitals.  

It comes as Friends of the Tweed Valley Birthing service announce that yesterday the district board decided to uphold a steering committee recommendation to re-open Murwillumbah's birthing service.  

Consumer representative on the committee, Rachel Bryant, said the decision would mean midwives will be trained in neonatal resuscitation. A plan for ambulances to take a mother and baby to the Tweed Hospital, if needed, will also be put in place.

The Murwillumbah birthing service is expected to re-open on October 19.  Expectant mothers will be able to refer themselves to the Tweed Valley Birthing Service from today.  

Ms Bryant said the health board has also endorsed, in principal, for a similar midwifery-lead service to be implemented at the Tweed Hospital, with homebirth an option.   

This unprecedented change in the model of care for birth on the Tweed would mean the Northern NSW Local Health District is leading the state in implementing the NSW government's Towards Normal Birth reforms.  

"Women and babies have a fantastic outcome in this model of care, and women receive much less intervention, which is only a good thing for all involved," Ms Bryant said.  

"You've got women who are up, and mobile, and ready to look after their babies and not suffering from medical procedures.  

"And women who are treated in a continuity of care model generally cost $1200 less than women in a medical model. 

"It's because there is no intervention - they're not requiring drugs, they're not requiring an obstetrician or a forceps delivery or ultimately an emergency cesarean.  

"They're leaving sooner to go home so there's not a long post-natal hospital stay."  

Women at the Tweed Hospital would still have all the options of birth, including elective cesarean.  

"Most importantly is that the local health district has committed to a maternity service plan, which could ultimately include the provision of homebirth in the area," Ms Bryant said.  

Ms Bryant has campaigned with academics and Maternity Choices advocates since late May to re-open the Murwillumbah birth service which was closed giving some women only days notice from the their due date. 

"Had we not been involved in this, we would have lost maternity services in Murwillumbah," she said.  

"(The new maternity services) give women that choice or where and how they're going to have their baby and not just be told 'this is how you're going to have your baby'.  

"It's normalising birth and allowing mothers to give birth locally in their community."



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