Homebirth, Freebirth and Doulas: Casualty and consequences of a broken maternity system.

Summary written by Kristy Vassallo

I have just read the study on Homebirth, Freebirth and Doulas: Casualty and consequences of a broken maternity system released in November 2011 and these are my thoughts based on that study.

Why do women not accept the service offered by the current maternity system?
Why are services not offered that women will accept?
Why are more women choosing to homebirth and freebirth in the U.S and Australia, ironically both with the highest (hospital) birth intervention rates of all countries?
Why are women choosing to hire Doulas to support them during pregnancy, labour, birth and postpartum where the role of the Midwife traditionally lies?
Why are medical models failing women the basic yet profoundly important human right to birth their way?

These are questions that have prompted the discussion within the paper ‘Homebirth, freebirth and doulas: Casualty and consequences of a broken maternity system’ by H.G Dahlen, M. Jackson and J. Stevens.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this discussion and wholeheartedly believe the answers to changing the system failures women face are so simple, complex in execution and deeply required.

I love the sentence “women will always find ways to meet their needs and feel safe when it comes to giving birth” to which hits the nail on the head as to why the role of the doula has become increasingly popular by birthing women in a sad yet beautiful twist of fate, consequence and necessity.

Women NEED continued support.

Women NEED to feel heard, safe and supported.

Women need to have access to health care individual to their circumstances void of manipulation, ulterior motives and trauma.

Women need ADVOCACY in the face of insanely powerful forces that are all too often extremely hard to beat including hospital policies, obstetricians and some midwives (medwives) that either by choice or circumstances only add to the poor maternity system outcomes women and babies face.


With such limited options of care (only 3% are able to access continuity of midwifery care), increased dissatisfaction with the current maternity health care system (including no funding or insurance for homebirth) and enormous amount of traumatised and unsatisfied birthing mothers it most certainly does not support the provision of evidence based services and gives great weight to the absolute NEED to consider our responsibility as a society to mothers and babies.

We need our maternity system to reflect what WORKS (evidence based care) and what mothers WANT.

Accountability through listening to what women are telling us, making fundamental changes to the inherent flaws of a crumbling system and therefore putting mothers’ needs FIRST really is paramount to positive change.

We should aim to allow all women to have options and a non-fear based maternity care system that empowers mums to make informed decisions best for herself and baby in a way that is supported, caring and respectful.

I dream of what that could look like for women of Australia and intend to wholeheartedly contribute to these changes as a doula and midwife!!

My name is Kristy Vassallo and I am a Doula based in Karratha, Western Australia who has trained with the Doula Training Academy. If you would like to talk more about your birthing options, please contact me:

Business Name: Queen Bee Birth
Business Website: www.queenbeebirth.com.au
Business Phone: 0403 880 204
Facebook: www.facebook.com/queenbeeperthdoula/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/queenbeebirth_karrathadoula/

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