When we established our Private Sunshine Coast Midwifery Practice we knew we were establishing something pretty special.  “Know Your Midwife” has grown over 3 yrs  and the Circle of Care program has blossomed in its first year.

So what has happened in a year?

A lot. And a lot we can be proud of.  Because, put simply, our results for mothers and babies are some of the best in country. And we are excited about it.

We have been privileged to care for 23 women in our Circle of Care in the last year (1/3/12 to 1/3/13 ). These women have birthed in a calm, empowered way and they say they have experienced the best birth journey possible. How great is that for the women, the babies and the future of birth?

So how have the statistics stacked up?

  • Of the 23 women there have been 23 births, ie no twins.
  • We have a 91.3%  normal vaginal birth rate!
  • Our caesarean rate is only 8.6% – significantly lower than hospital births in this country which has had a caesarean rate on average upwards of 30% (up to 50% in some private hospitals!).
  • There were 14 planned home births – 12 women birthed at home with no complications. One was transferred because of sudden severe raised blood pressure and the other for breech complications.
  •  There were 9 planned hospital births, both in SCPH (Buderim Private Hospital ) and NGH (Nambour Public Hospital). women birthed in the hospital of their choice but 2 were “failed hospital births” as they were fully dilated when the midwife arrived after only 2 hours labour! Both were first time mums! We like this “failed hospital birth” label  since so many hospitals label you “failed homebirth” when we have quite legitimate reasons for transferring to a hospital!
  • 11 were water births  (only 1 in Nambour General Hospital)
  • Only 2 women required suturing which was done at home, by our totally competent midwives.
  • 1 woman had a Post partum haemorrhage which was at home but she settled with Syntocinon without requiring additional treatment. (It is our policy to carry the drugs with us in case of emergency!)
  • 10% or 2 women needed augmentation of labour ( stimulation of contractions with the syntocinon drip) . Some babies just won’t budge even though our Mum’s are so relaxed and they’ve wiggled and jiggled and completed a marathon of activities….we have no idea why!
  • 9 of our  women were over the age of 35 (so they were not considered classic “no risk” births), 10 were first time pregnancies and two were VBACs (Vaginal birth after caesarean) who birthed normally!

Our intervention rates have been significantly low:

  • There was 1 induction of labour whose waters had broken at 35 weeks (and after 24 hrs of moving, rocking and jiggling, labour still hadn’t happened). Once the drip with the Syntocinon was started, she labored beautifully, relaxed and focused, birthing a healthy baby in 2 hrs.
  • No inductions for postdates!!  We are pleased to say that none of our babies have been induced for being “overdue”.
  • There were 3 epidurals, none of them for pain relief (all for medical reasons)

These rates are significantly lower the rates for hospitals in this country.

Why was our program and our care so successful?

  1. Commitment to a better birthing experience (our birthing Mothers do not want the birth experience that many friends have had, nor what the media portrays.
  2. The Circle of Care program which involves education, meditation, breathing techniques and visualization on a daily basis in preparation for the relaxed quick calm birth. By the end of the program our mothers have no fear of the birthing process and say, “I can’t wait to be in labour!”
  3.  The positive support of other women in the group.
  4. Knowing and trusting the midwife with whom they birth….and also knowing and trusting our backup team of midwives.
  5. The fact that our birthing mothers are not rushed.  We only take on 2 births per month for each midwife.  We do this so that we have 100% commitment of time to each mother and so that we can follow through on exceptional ante-natal and post-natal care.  There would be nothing worse to us than not having the time to see a mother for any reason due to our caseload so we work our caseload around the needs of our women.
  6. Knowing and trusting an Obstetrician offering continuity of care in their pregnancy.
  7. The involvement of other health professionals in their care, ie chiropractors, acupuncture, homeopathy.

These are wonderful outcomes for The Circle of Care.

Even when medical interventions are required, we have witnessed our women have the best birthing experience they can have given any complications! That’s what we are about!

In fact we recently had a team from Queensland Health visit our practice to find out what we are doing – because our results are so atypical (good!).  We were so excited to be able to work with Government bodies to show examples of best practice in midwifery care on the Sunshine Coast – and as a model for Australia to adopt in hospitals and in private practice.

Our results convince me that we are on the right path to normalizing birth, ensuring women have the techniques and power to take back their birthrite …to birth as nature intended….in a calm, trusting, nurturing environment of their choice.