Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Training day on consumer representation and advocacy/lobbying skills

Anyone interested in getting more involved in birth reform but not sure what they can do?
Already active but wanting to feel more ‘polished’ ? Then this is a day for you.

Come along on Saturday 18 September 2010 from around 9.30 to 4.30 (times to be finalised)

WHERE: Brisbane venue
COST: None except to get to Brisbane
WHY? Passionate about birth? Want more women/families to experience pregnancy, birth and post-natal care that is supportive, empowering and which gives women choice, continuity of carer and control?

This is a great chance for new members, and older experienced members to all get together and share info, knowledge and wisdom. To find out more, contact Jo Smethurst - (07) 3256 8127 / 0424 493 201

Footprints On Our Hearts: Caring For Grieving Families

This conference will provide midwives and clinicians with the theory, knowledge and skills in supporting families when a baby dies.

Date: Saturday 30 October 2010
Time: 9 am to 5 pm
Venue: Conference room, level 1, Mater Medical Centre, 293 Vulture Street, South Brisbane
Parking: available

Morning and afternoon tea and lunch provided.
Trade displays will be on show during the day.

Midwives, nurses and other health professionals
Please note: RCNA CPE points to be advised.

Dr Judith Murray, Lecturer, The University of Queensland—Keynote address
Mr Alan Richardson, Clinical psychologist/lecturer—Grieving Men and the Couple’s Journey
Ms Liz Crowe, Social Worker—Children’s Grief
Dr Lucy Cooke, Neonatologist—Perinatal Mortality in Queensland
Ms Trish Wilson, Midwife/Counsellor—The Grief of the Carers

• Keynote address
• Guest speakers
• Workshops—you will be able to attend three out of four workshops.

––Precious memories: mementoes and photographs to support memory creation
––But why did the baby die? Trying to find answers to difficult questions. Clinical investigations and perinatal death.
––Death, dying and bereavement support for different cultures
––Dealing with difficult situations: traumatic grief, end of life care and what to say to grieving parents.

Please contact Sally De La Cruz on 07 3163 5146 or for registration details.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Birth activists rally at the Press Club to meet PM

About 35 women rallied at the National Press Club last Thursday in the hope of talking to Julia Gillard, PM about the midwifery reforms. Unfortunately all the big players (incl PM) went in the back door so they didn’t’ get to see Julia at all.

Here’s what Georgia from Canberra said:

“Lots of media. However we were not allowed to stand on the side of the National Press Club we had to stand across the road and they wouldn't let one of us stand there to hand out media release. Also 3 Aust Federal Policemen were there as well standing out the front making sure no one crossed the road. However the media did come over to us so we handed them media release and info about why we were there. Also at the end when it had finished Channel Ten someone Remington came over and he was talking and had his camera and we gave him a media release.There was a group for climate change and something about insulation as well. But the media came over to us it must have been the purple shirts and our loud voices. I did a quick head count and I counted about 35 women so it was a good turn out. The rain held off and it didn't start till 2pm as we were leaving. So I am on a high."

New MC National Blog

There is a new blog from MC national – featuring Federal issues The first post was about the medical veto. Check it out and ‘follow’ it. :

Queensland Centre for Mothers & Babies August 2010 Newsletter

Choosing Where to Birth: What You Want To Know
The Queensland Centre for Mothers & Babies is developing an online database called Birthplace to provide information to women about all birthing facilities in Queensland. We wanted to know what information would be most useful, both to help women make decisions about where to have a baby and help women know what to expect from their planned place of birth. To find out what information to include, we ran the My Birthplace Study and asked women to tell us what they would like to know. Here is what they said: Top 10 most important questions to ask a birthing facility when deciding where to birth:
1. Can my support people (e.g. partner, companion) be in the birth room when I’m having my baby?
2. Can I choose what position I want to be in during my labour and birth here (e.g. squatting, sitting, moving around)?
3. Does this facility have an intensive care unit for babies (i.e. a ‘NICU’)?
4. Can my partner stay overnight (and is there a cost for this)?
5. Would other women recommend this facility to their friends?
6. How many women have skin-to-skin contact with their baby straight after birth?
7. Will my support people (e.g. partner, companion) be made to feel welcome?
8. What methods of pain relief can I have?
9. Can I have a vaginal birth at this facility if I have had a caesarean section ('C-section') before? 10. Can I ask to have an epidural for pain management?

As you might expect, we also noticed some differences in what was important to women based on where they lived. For example, women from rural and remote areas of Queensland said they also wanted to know how far a birthing facility was from their home and whether there were places near the facility that their family and friends could stay.

Thank you to all the women who took part in this study – your opinions are extremely valuable to us and will help us to make Birthplace the most useful it can be to women and their families in Queensland. Birthplace will be launched in December 2010

For more information about Birthplace or the My Birthplace Study (or to tell us whether you agree or disagree with what women have told us!) please contact Aleena at

Survey Update The “Having a Baby in Queensland: Your Story” survey for 2010 is well and truly underway. The survey asks women about their experience of maternity care in Queensland so that we can find out what is working well in maternity care in Queensland, and what needs to be improved. At the beginning of July, women who had a baby in February were invited to take part in the survey. We’ve had a fantastic response, with over 1000 women completing the survey so far. If you had a baby in March, you should receive your invitation in the mail shortly, if you have not already received it. When you do get it, you can either fill in the question booklet and send it back to us, call us on 1800 704 539 to organise a time to do the survey over the phone or complete the survey online at

Women who had a baby in April and May, your turn is coming! You can expect your invitations in the mail at the start of September and October. If you would like to complete the survey, but you didn’t have a baby between February and May this year, the survey is not open to you yet, but will be shortly. Fill in your details at and we’ll let you know when the survey is ready for you to complete.

A big thank you to everyone who has already completed the survey, and to everyone else, we look forward to hearing your story.

Presentation at the 12th International Conference for Language and Social Psychology (ICLASP12)
The 12th International Conference for Language and Social Psychology (ICLASP) was held at Griffith University, Southbank campus in Brisbane in June, 2010. The conference, held every two years, brings together those interested in communication from a language and social point of view, exploring the many facets that can contribute to how we communicate with each other. The centre took the opportunity to present its work to the international audience present at ICLASP12. With two of our chief investigators, Cindy Gallois and Bernadette Watson, leading the Centre’s presentation, all presenters enjoyed showcasing the work of the Centre to an audience not directly involved in maternity care, bringing about new ideas to help advance our work.

Those who presented at the conference were: Michelle Heatley - Results of a survey on maternity care providers’ attitudes towards birth and collaboration
Yvette Miller - Listening for change: Results from the Having a Baby in Queensland pilot survey Rachel Thompson - The Having a Baby in Queensland book: Developing a resource to promote informed choice in maternity care
Aleena Wojcieszek - The Having a Baby in Queensland website: Techniques for effective online communication of pregnancy, birth, and postnatal health information.

If you would like any more information, please feel free to contact us:

Centre welcomes new appointments
The QCMB recently welcomed the appointment of experienced midwife Hazel Brittain, current President of the Qld Branch of the Australian College of Midwives, to lead the Centre as acting director until the end of the year. An adjunct Associate Professor with Griffith University, Ms Brittain is taking a six month secondment from Logan Hospital where she is the current Nursing and Midwifery Director of Women and Children’s Services. Ms Brittain said she believed in informed choice for women and their families in maternity care, increasing access to continuity of care and carer models for maternity care, and improving collaboration between maternity carers. Ms Brittain will lead the centre until January 2011 when Professor Debra Creedy, the Head of Nursing at the National University of Singapore, will take on the role of Director.

Professor Creedy has a background as a registered nurse and clinical psychologist and is a past President of ANZAME, The Association for Health Professional Education. She has co-authored a textbook on health psychology, as well as more than 100 journal articles and book chapters. Her clinical research involves randomised controlled trials on effectiveness of counselling interventions to assist distressed postpartum women; models of best practice (e.g. promoting breastfeeding) and implementation of evidence into practice. Professor Creedy has also conducted nursing education research on PBL, use of web-based technologies and leadership development.

The Centre’s Indigenous Program update
Indigenous Program leader Patrice Harald met with Indigenous mums and community groups in and around Brisbane in March and April, with the aim of finding ways to improve maternity care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mums. The talks centred on ‘what is informed choice’ and what do Indigenous parents mothers and fathers know about the services provided by hospitals and hospital staff. Patrice has also been busy promoting and distributing the ‘Birthplace’ survey and the ‘Having A Baby In Queensland’ survey to community and government agencies to gather birthing stories from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers and to improve participation in the two surveys.

Special QCMB Projects:The Having a Baby in Queensland book – supporting you to make informed decisions about your maternity care.
The team at the Centre have started working on a book for pregnant women, which will be distributed through GPs. The first edition of the book will be a pilot to gauge if giving women the book has any impact on their pregnancy and birth. A thousand women will be given the book and will be asked a series of questions after their baby is born, while another 1000 women who have not been given the book will also be asked the same series of questions about their labour and birth. Designed to be provided to women in the early days of their pregnancy, the book closely follows the decision points contained in the new state-wide pregnancy health record. The book will briefly describe the options and provide women with the available evidence about the options in order to better enable women to make an informed decision, and to encourage women to discuss their preferences with their care providers.
The decision points that will be covered in the book include: model of care, scans and antenatal tests, mode of birth, induction of labour, vaginal examination, fetal monitoring, pain management, episiotomy, and the third stage of labour. Unlike most pregnancy books which contain the do’s and don’ts of pregnancy and birth, the Having a Baby in Queensland book will fill an information void which currently exists in maternity care. The book is designed to encourage active participation and equal collaboration between women and their care providers. It is anticipated the book will be ready to be handed out to women in December this year and we would really appreciate your help in getting this right. Consumers and clinicians if you would like to help review and comment on the information being produced please contact Hazel Brittain by email

Working together in maternity care: the Maternity Collaboration Project
All maternity carers want what is best for their client. However sometimes differences arise between carers, such as midwives and doctors, as to what this means and how it can work well in practice. The goals of the Maternity Collaboration Project is to look at ways to improve how maternity carers work together between themselves and with the women they provide care for. Working together is also commonly referred to as “collaboration” in maternity care. At the moment, we are currently meeting with carers who already have a collaborative approach to care to find out what has and hasn’t worked for them. We also hope to work closely with our Collaborative members (a group of carers, managers, and consumers who act as a reference group for the Centre’s work) to generate an approach to care that will provide best care for Queensland women. For more information about the project, please contact Michelle Heatley

Expressions of Interest: Chair and Members of the Statewide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Maternity and Neonatal Care Group.

The Statewide Maternity and Neonatal Clinical Network is seeking expressions of interest from clinicians and consumers wishing to be involved in the Statewide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Maternity and Neonatal Care Group.

SMNCN members have identified the need for a Statewide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Maternity and Neonatal Care Group to:
Establish expert Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation on all Queensland Health (QH) maternity and neonatal working groups.
Increase clinician and consumer knowledge of resources that are appropriate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander maternity and neonatal care.
When requested, provide assistance to engage clinician and consumer support for QH projects to progress the National Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes (2009, Council of Australian Governments).

It is planned that the Group will meet on the fourth Wednesday of each month, from
1330 -1500 hrs. Videoconferencing and teleconferencing facilities will be available for all meetings.
The first meeting is scheduled for:
Date: Wednesday 27 October 2010
Time: 1330 -1500 hrs
Venue: Conference Room 1, Level 14, Block 7, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Herston.

If you require further information, please do not hesitate to contact Naida Lumsden, Principal Project Officer, Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Service (Ph. 07 3636 9789 or email ).

Please forward your expression of interest, including whether you are applying for the position of Chair and/or Member, full name, current position and employing facility/district, by email to by COB Thursday 16 September 2010.

Transition to Fatherhood ~ Men's challenges and opportunities as fathers

A free informative & experiential Gestalt community group for men becoming fathers on Tuesday 31 August

"What's your experience since the conception/birth of your child?"

Gestalt Therapy supports personal growth by building self-awareness.
Gestalt Therapy is a relational approach and explores new options for living a fulfilled life.
Please let all the men you know who are soon to become fathers, or have recently become fathers, or thinking of becoming fathers about this about a one-off evening for men.
This is a mens’ group, run by a man, Michael Menzel, who is currently finishing his Masters in Gestalt Therapy, and has recently become a father himself. There is no cost to this evening, as it is part of his final preparation for his Masters.
Date/Time: Tuesday 31 August from 7pm to 9.30pm

Place: Quaker Meeting House, 10 Hampson St., Kelvin Grove

Cost: Free
Contact for bookings: Michael Menzel
m/p 0410 829 090

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Misogynistic? You decide

This UK The Guardian story 'Midwives attack hysteria over home births' is gobsmacking.

The article speaks of the intense medical lobbying and strategically released journal articles which are downplaying the benefits of home births

the respected medical journal the Lancet to wrote, in a recent editorial,
“women have the right to choose how and where to give birth, but they do not have the right to put their baby at risk".
Perhaps this is how ‘collaboration’ will work here in Australia – women will have the right to choose where and how they birth – as long as it’s what the doctors want!

And this:
Disputes involving obstetricians, now account for almost two thirds of the £800m NHS medical litigation bill. "That means 15% of maternity budget going to lawyers and clients".

Birth Reform YouTube video

During every election campaign all the major parties monitor social media sites like YouTube to gauge what voters are interested in.
To that end a video has been made about birth reform, and the current challenges we’re facing. Please check it out and share it far and wide with colleagues and friends via email, Facebook, Twitter etc.
It would be great to get 50,000 hits by tomorrow!
Follow this link to view it and have your opinion noticed.

Mackay women talk to PM

A group of midwives and mothers confronted Julia Gillard in Mackay about Medicare for Midwives ~
"the visit to Bucyrus - one of the world's largest providers of mining equipment - wasn't without its moments, with Ms Gillard forced into an awkward meeting with a group of women protesting against changes to midwifery regulations, after being steered in their direction by Labor candidate for the marginal seat of Dawson Mike Brunker.
The women, who had managed to infiltrate the event despite being without any of the safety gear worn by media and Ms Gillard's team, want greater access to Medicare and prescribing rights, which they say have been limited by changes to midwifery regulations.
While Ms Gillard handled the situation well, telling the women she understood the issue, it was nonetheless an embarrassing moment for the prime minister"

Read the full story published in the Sydney Morning Herald here.

Friday, August 6, 2010

MC Qld's contacts updated

The contacts for MC's Qld Branch have recently been updated here on Maternity Coalition's website.

While you are there:
- Find out about MC Qld
- Look at our amazing list of consumer representatives
- Find out how to get involved (*Branch Support,* Community Awareness,* Consumer Representatives, * Lobbying, * Meetings, * Stay Informed)

Midwives’ Gathering - Sat 14th Aug

See flyer below:

The Passage to Motherhood Conference: Call for Abstracts (due 31st Aug), Sponsorship and Exhibition information

Capers Bookstore have recently put a call out for Abstracts to their Passage to Motherhood Conference to be held at the Bardon Centre in Brisbane, 4-7 May 2011. Confirmed international speakers include Christina Smillie, Michel Odent, Sara Wickham and Maggie Banks.

The Passage to Motherhood Conference

A conference for midwives, paediatricians, obstetricians, maternal and child health nurses, lactation consultants, university academics and educators, childbirth educators, physiotherapists, psychologists, sociologists, general practitioners, breastfeeding counsellors, consumers and therapists.

Conference themes
• Preparing for birth and parenting
• Midwifery care
• Early breastfeeding and postnatal support

Abstracts could relate to challenges in midwifery, traditional midwifery practice, socio-cultural influences, ethics, partnerships, men and birth, mental health, politics, consumer voices, rural midwifery, place of birth, complementary therapies and pain relief.

Our program committee will consider any topics related to pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and the early postnatal period. We welcome both research articles and reflections on practice.

In submitting an abstract, please indicate whether this is a poster, plenary paper or concurrent session or workshop, and whether you will participate with your poster if your abstract is not selected for oral presentation.

Conference plenary sessions will be 15 minutes (+5 minutes for questions), and concurrent sessions will be up to 45 or 90 minutes.

Click here for more information including PDF files for:
* The Call for abstracts - the deadline for submissions is 31 August 2010.
* Exhibition and sponsorship opportunities package

Monday, August 2, 2010

UK Lancet homebirth editorial and RCM reply

Homebirth - proceed with caution
The Lancet, Sat 31 July 2010
Editorial in UK medical journal The Lancet - Home birth: women are advised to proceed with caution when deciding to give birth outside hospital setting.

The Royal College of Midwives UK released this response:
RCM release: Midwives comment on the Lancet editorial on home birth
Commenting on the Lancet’s editorial “Home birth – proceed with caution,” published today (July 30), Cathy Warwick, general secretary of the Royal College of Midwives said: “We are deeply disappointed and dismayed that Lancet has published an editorial indicating that women would choose to harm their baby in favour of their own needs by choosing a home birth. The editorial also cites research that is incomplete and methodologically flawed. There is no evidence to suggest that hospital births are safer than homebirths. A hospital birth cannot be thought of as being intrinsically safe and the increasing medicalisation of childbirth cannot or be used as a reason to deter women from choosing midwifery-led care options, such as home birth.”