Melbourne Doula

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News article about one of our local Midwives

This article, featuring Midwife Nicola Dutton of Midwives Naturally, appeared in The Age:

Women 'deprived of choice'
Nick Miller
September 10, 2008

FOR 10 years, midwife Nicola Dutton worked in Victoria's public maternity system, her frustration growing almost with every birth.

She saw a system that deprived women of choice, imposed medicine, operations and technology that were not in their best interests, and a system that engendered fear and led to birth becoming a surgical operation rather than a natural event. Ms Dutton passionately believes this system must change.

"You get increasingly disheartened at the policies and protocols that don't seem to be women-centred," she says. "You get frustrated by more technology that comes into play, that doesn't equate to safe outcomes for mothers or babies. If you leave it to nature it actually works very well, without intervention and drugs and major abdominal surgery."

This year she hung her shingle as a full-time private midwife with three colleagues. They offer a home birth service.

However, she believes that society has made women suspicious of natural childbirth outside the hospital system.

"I think it has led to mothers being less confident in their own bodies' ability to birth their babies. Their friends say 'You're brave to have a home birth', but we think you are brave if you give birth in a hospital in this era."

Encouraging births at home and in the community could free overburdened maternity hospitals to deal with the high-risk births.

"There needs to be a rebate on Medicare for midwifery," Ms Dutton says. "Also, the public hospital system needs to grab the bull by the horns and contract private midwives (to perform home births). It works in the UK and New Zealand," she said.

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