Homebirths for Sunshine Coast mothers

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A Publicly Funded Homebirth service is expected to start at Sunshine Coast University Hospital from mid-2024.

  • Sunshine Coast Health will be the first health service in Queensland to operate publicly funded homebirths from mid-2024.
  • An initial $1.2 million has been allocated to launch the service.
  • The move comes after years of advocates calling for more birthing options for expectant mothers, and brings Queensland into line with every other state besides Tasmania in offering publicly funded homebirths.

Expectant mothers on the Sunshine Coast will soon have the option to give birth at home thanks to a new service delivered at Sunshine Coast Health.

An initial investment of $1.2 million has been dedicated to launch the new homebirth initiative – the first of its kind in Queensland.

The Publicly Funded Homebirth service is expected to start at Sunshine Coast University Hospital from mid-2024.

Currently, Queensland women can choose to birth at home through privately practicing midwives. In a commitment to providing women with more choice and access to a range of safe maternity models, this will be expanded to Queensland Health midwives employed under a Midwifery Group Practice Model on the Sunshine Coast.

As part of this new service, our midwives on the Sunshine Coast will provide evidence-based care to women who have opted for a homebirth and who have a low-risk pregnancy.

To determine whether Publicly Funded Homebirth is a suitable and safe option for the woman and her baby, a number of criteria will be considered, including:

  • the health needs of both the mother and her baby
  • that the pregnancy must involve only one baby, not twins or triplets
  • that the pregnancy must have reached full term
  • the home environment being assessed as safe and suitable for a home birth
  • the home environment is within a safe travel distance to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital in case of an emergency.

We will assess the outcomes of the service by evaluating various factors, including safety, quality, benefits to women, consumer interest, consumer feedback and sustainability.

This comprehensive evaluation will guide future planning and decision-making including considering the viability of the service in other parts of the state.

Prior to now, Queensland and Tasmania remained the only Australian states to not offer publicly funded homebirths.

Sunshine Coast Health Chief Executive Dr Peter Gillies said that we are proud to be the site of the first publicly funded homebirth service in Queensland as an extension of our birthing services offered to local women.

“Homebirth provides women with a choice of location for the birth of their baby. Research shows planned homebirth for selected women has similar safety outcomes to hospital birth when attended by a skilled midwife.

“I want to thank our hardworking and dedicated staff in our Women’s and Children’s unit, who care for our antenatal and postnatal women and their babies for making this service a possibility for Sunshine Coast Health.”