Illawarra Shoalhaven LHD to partner Birthing on Country
Studies have shown Aboriginal-centred care can reduce preterm births by 50 per cent.
The Birthing on Country program is preparing to sign a statement of commitment with the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD).
Birthing on Country is a model of care provided to Aboriginal women and their families. It offers wrap-around maternity support in the community and in hospital by providing intrapartum birth care and then postnatal care for up to six weeks.
The program has been running at Waminda, a women’s health and welfare service on the New South Wales South Coast since 2018.
“It is giving us ownership of our health and birthing babies on country in a place that they feel safe and there is no judgement,” said Melanie Briggs, a senior midwife at the centre.
“Then they can have beautiful, healthy, chunky babies and be able to practise culture and community care and be looked after aunties and elders and mums.”
ISLHD chief executive Margot Mains said it would provide greater maternity care options that were safe and respectful of culture and spirituality.
“This includes the implementation of a long-term plan of action, targeted at addressing the maternal and perinatal gap in health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers and their babies,” she said.