Mothers and midwives working together for better maternity care
The Maternity Coalition was set up more than a decade ago by a group of people committed to improving maternity care for women. The organisation now has around 500 members with branches in every state of Australia, and members include mothers, fathers, midwives, doctors, educators and researchers, as well as a wide range of birth support and advocacy groups. The Maternity Coalition acts as an umbrella organisation, linking individuals and groups together who all share the common vision of improving Australian womens experience of pregnancy, labour and birth.
One of the main aims of the Maternity Coalition is to promote women’s control over decision-making about their care through improved access to information, resources and support. The national network of Branches and local groups in all States means that women and their partners can access consumer information through which they can inform themselves of the various choices open to them in regard to their pregnancy, labour and birth. Various MC Branches run regular information sessions, such as the ‘Choices for Childbirth’ evenings run by the Victorian banch, in which Midwives, educators and mothers and fathers share their experences and knowledge with future mums and dads, with topics such as ‘Natural Birth – is it possible?’ And ‘6 weeks and beyond – surviving the first weeks of parenthood’.
Maternity Coalition actively lobbies governments and health care providers for changes to the public health system to give all women the choice of having one-to-one care from early in pregnancy till after the baby is born from her own midwife. One-to-one care with a midwife has been proven to be safe and beneficial care for all women. Coupled with this we believe there needs to be seamless medical backup to women in the care of a midwife if a complication arises.
MC members are also involved in a variety of more localised lobbying activities across Australia such as the ‘Save our Birth Centre’ campaign currently being run in Moorabbin, Victoria which is part of the Southern Healthcare Network. The Network is considering closing and relocating the Birth Centre, which would be further restricting the choice of place and caregiver for birthing women. The consumer campaign is actively promoting women’s rights to choice and is lobbying strongly to keep the Birth Centre open.
We want Australian Maternity Services to provide care during pregnancy and labour/birth that is sensitive to women’s varied cultural and physical needs as well as recognizing and respecting each woman’s intuitive knowledge about her needs and those of her baby. We want Australian Maternity Services to support women’s right to make informed choices about their care (including tests and procedures), caregiver and place of birth, and we want the technologies that are available for maternity care to be used in ways that are consistent with the best research evidence on their safety and efficacy. Maternity Coalition advocates consumer and midwife participation at all levels of Maternity care policy planning, decision making and service delivery. Above all, we believe that Australian Maternity Services need to treat pregnancy and birth as a natural process rather than as an illness.
Maternity Coalition publishes a quarterly journal called Birth Matters, which presents current, critical reviews of maternity issues in Australia, as well as reports and news of activities of members nationally. Birth Matters includes articles written by consumers, academics, and professionals who share an interest in achieving our goals.
In all of our activities, Maternity Coalition promotes informed choice and strongly encourages community debate about maternity care. If you would like more information about Maternity Coalition and how you can join or become involved, please contact one of the Branch contacts below.
ABN 82 691 324 728
PO Box 1190
Blackburn North Victoria 3130
Western Australia Mary Murphy firstname.lastname@example.org
South Australia Cheryl Glennie, email@example.com
Victoria Leslie Arnott firstname.lastname@example.org
New South Wales Justine Caines email@example.com
Queensland Bruce Teakle firstname.lastname@example.org
ACT Margie Perkins email@example.com
Please see website for up-to-date information, or contact your nearest Branch.
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