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IN PROGRESS

Development timeline: December 2018 - December 2019  

We are developing new clinical practice guidelines to help Victorian healthcare services manage home births.

To develop the guidance, we will:

  • seek feedback on the DRAFT guidance in November, and 
  • get it independently reviewed. 

Why are we developing this guidance?

There is currently no homebirth clinical guidance available to guide safe homebirth practice in Victoria. 

In response to evidence that offering homebirth to low risk women is no less safe than a hospital birth, we are developing guidance and practical advice for Victorian public and private maternity care services, to support safe public and private homebirth care. 

Having a baby at home through the public hospital system is an option available in most states in Australia. In Victoria, two health services offer this service.

We know 75% of women having a homebirth are under the care of a private midwife, and the numbers of women who currently access homebirth through a public hospital are small. However support and interest is growing; in Victoria there were 131 homebirths in 2000, increasing to 315 in 2015. This is a 2.6 and 1.8 fold increase for low risk and high risk women respectively.  

Scope of guidance

This guidance is being developed for Victorian maternity and neonatal care providers including midwifery, medical, nursing, allied health professionals in regional and metropolitan health services, along with midwives in private practice providing homebirth services. 

This guidance will also be of interest to professional societies involved in the care of pregnant women such as Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologist (RANZCOG), and the Australian College of Midwives (ACM). 

Although not the intended target audience, women and their families may also access this guidance for information about their suitability for homebirth and the care they can expect to receive. 

Expert working group membership

MEMBER ROLE ORGANISATION
Tanya Farrell

Chair
Senior maternity advisor

Safer Care Victoria
Nicole Allan Maternity Services Officer Australian Nursing and Midwifery Foundation (ANMF)
Leslie Arnott Consumer  
Allison Boylan

Assistant Director Policy and Strategy, Maternal, Child and Family Health Branch, Health and Wellbeing Division

Department of Health and Human Services
Lauren Brown Senior Pharmacist - Neonatal Services Western Health – Sunshine Hospital
Wendy Cutchie Project Lead - Maternity and Newborn Clinical Network (MNCN) Safer Care Victoria
Dr Miranda Davies-Tuck Research Scientist, Epidemiology and Clinical Trials 
NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow

Safer Care Victoria

Hudson Institute

Maree Dell Midwife Group Practice/Homebirth Midwifery Manager Western Health – Sunshine Hospital
Dr Charlotte Elder Chair of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) Victorian Regional Committee, Obstetrician Representing: Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
Tracy Firth Senior Project Officer
Coordinator maternity eHandbook
Safer Care Victoria
Stuart Hill MICA Flight paramedic Ambulance Victoria
Jen Hocking Victorian Branch Chair Australian College of Midwives
Professor Caroline Homer

Co-Program Director Maternal and Child Health
NHMRC Principal Research Fellow

Burnet Institute
Professor Rod Hunt Director, Neonatal Medicine
Neonatologist
The Royal Children’s Hospital
Clare Lane Privately practicing midwife Clare Lane Midwifery Services
Shevaun O’Loghlen Project Lead – Medical Indemnity Programs Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA)
Annie Peters Senior Policy Advisor,  Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine Workforce, Policy and Planning Department of Health and Human Services
Andrea Quanchi Privately practicing midwife My Midwives
Allison Shotton Clinical Midwife Educator Royal Woman’s Hospital
Dr Jacqui Smith Medical Director, Perinatal
Obstetrician
Paediatric Infant Perinatal Emergency Retrieval (PIPER)
Lisa Smith Maternity Services Operations Manager Western Health – Sunshine Hospital
Colleen White Operations Director Women’s, Children’s and Adolescent health Peninsula Health

Working group terms of reference

Get in touch

Centre of Clinical Excellence - Women and Children
Safer Care Victoria

Page last updated: 11 Nov 2020

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