Currently in Australia, less than 1% of women give birth at home. Until the late 90s, women planning a homebirth needed to engage a privately-practising midwife. However, in recent decades a new model of care, known as publicly-funded homebirth, has become increasingly available to women seeking a homebirth. Publicly-funded homebirth models are provided by some public hospitals often within a midwifery-led continuity of care model.
Midwifery academics within the Centre for Midwifery, Child and Family Health have a strong record of work investigating aspects of publicly-funded homebirth, including three doctoral theses.
Dr Christine Catling’s PhD (opens external site) explored the influences on women who chose this model of care. Dr Deborah Fox’s PhD (opens external site) investigated processes and interactions involved in the transfer of a woman to hospital during labour, from planned homebirth. Dr Rebecca Coddington’s PhD (opens external site) explored midwives’ experiences of providing publicly-funded homebirth in Australia.
Other work in this field includes a review of the first 100 women having a publicly-funded homebirth at St George Hospital, Sydney, and a national 6-year review of maternal and neonatal outcomes, and an analysis of women’s confidence to have a homebirth. Currently Dr Catling, Dr Fox and Dr Coddington are working on a study investigating women’s trajectories after they fall outside the eligibility criteria necessary for women to access a publicly-funded homebirth during pregnancy.
Dr Catling is the chair of the National Publicly-Funded Homebirth Consortium, a 40-member consortium that supports and acts as a resource to midwifery managers throughout Australia on issues of best practice and workforce issues.
Dr Fox was a member of the Australian College of Midwives expert review panel that compiled the ‘Transfer from planned birth at home' guidelines.
Read the research
- The influences on women who choose a publicly-funded homebirth in Australia (opens external site)
- Birthplace in Australia: Processes and interactions during the intrapartum transfer of women from planned homebirth to hospital (opens external site)
- Birthplace in Australia: Antenatal preparation for the possibility of transfer from planned home birth (opens external site)
- Experiences of Women Planning a Home Birth Who Require Intrapartum Transfer to Hospital: A Metasynthesis of the Qualitative Literature (opens external site)
- From hospital to home: Australian midwives’ experiences of transitioning into publicly-funded homebirth programs (opens external site)
- The St. George Homebirth Program: An evaluation of the first 100 booked women (opens external site)
- Publicly funded homebirth in Australia: a review of maternal and neonatal outcomes over 6 years (opens external site)
- Multiparous women's confidence to have a publicly-funded homebirth: A qualitative study (opens external site)
- Australian College of Midwives Transfer from planned birth at home guidelines (opens external site)