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April is caesarean awareness month

I had a category 1 emergency caesarean (immediate threat to life of mother or baby) after a failed induction. I went into hospital to be induced on a Sunday afternoon with the indication that my baby would be born on Monday during business hours… My baby girl was born at 1:00 am on Wednesday morning!

My caesarean section likely saved my daughter’s life. Of course I am grateful to be living somewhere that it is a possibility. However, I don’t agree with some of the decisions that were made leading up to the caesarean, creating a situation in which she was born extremely unwell and I had developed an infection.

I do not consider that I was adequately informed about inductions; the process, the risks, cascade of interventions etc and put a lot of trust into the medical team because my daughter had a congenital heart defect. I feel like I experienced trauma that was largely avoidable because of a lack of information and poor decisions from health care providers.

I feel like I experienced trauma that was largely avoidable'

I have reflected on my birth a lot over the last couple of years. I have a lot of regrets – mostly that I didn’t do enough to inform myself, because I focused so much on my baby’s heart defect. I was consumed by thoughts of whether my baby would live or die.

I feel a deep sense of grief because I didn’t have the experience I imagined. It has taken time and moments of quiet thought to become more peaceful about it, and integrate it as a part of our story.

Whilst miss 2’s heart defect was definitely a spanner in the works, and made it necessary for us to have a caesarean birth, it is largely recognised that the caesarean rate in Australia is higher than what would be considered the optimal level.

Be part of the change!

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, “30.1% of selected women giving birth for the first time had a caesarean section, in 2018”. The WHO position on caesareans is that the ideal rate is between 10% - 15%. Why? Well quite simply, as the rate increases above this, it is not shown to decrease the risk of maternal or infant death.

This April, I’d like you to join me in advocating for women to receive continuity of midwifery care. This is the gold standard of midwifery care, with the identified benefits including reduced unnecessary intervention and increased breastfeeding rates. Less than 10% of women in Australia receive this model of care and this needs to change.

You can be a part of this by writing to your state’s health minister, the federal health minister (The Hon Greg Hunt MP - and don’t forget to CC

If you’d like to become more involved or learn more about the maternity system in Australia, head over to Maternity Choices Australia

With the collective power of women, we can create change.

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