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Why planned attended homebirth should be more widely supported in Australia


  • The views in this article are solely those of the author and should not be attributed to the Maternity Coalition. The author thanks anonymous reviewers for their useful comments on earlier drafts of this article.

: Dr Lareen A. Newman, State President South Australia, Maternity Coalition, c/o 2-B Sylvan Way, Glenalta, SA 5052, Australia. Email:


This article argues that the continuing reluctance on the part of professional and bureaucratic bodies in Australia to provide for and support planned attended homebirth for low-risk women is unfounded according to the research evidence. It also suggests that such lack of support might be encouraging some planned but intentionally unattended homebirths to occur in Australia, particularly as in recent years there appears to have been an increase in popularity in freebirth (or do-it-yourself homebirth). The article calls for RANZCOG and Australian state health departments to support planned attended homebirth for low-risk women in the face of what is now a considerable amount of evidence showing its safety, when compared with unplanned homebirth and hospital birth. The article raises a number of challenging issues for obstetricians, midwives and managers or planners of maternity services.