What is a birth centre? Birth centres are physically located either within or adjacent to selected public hospitals in Queensland and are operated within the public health system. They aim to achieve a home-like atmosphere within a secure hospital environment. Birth centres differ to birth suites/hospital in that they offer women with low risk pregnancy the opportunity to be cared for by a small team of midwives. These midwives will come to know and care for women and their families not just during pregnancy, labour and birth, but also for up to six weeks afterwards including home visits and phone calls.
What are birth centres about? Birth centres promote:
Continuity of carer
The woman’s involvement in the decision making process
Freedom of movement during labour and birth
Use of natural methods of pain management such as water and massage
Free interaction with chosen support people
Family centred care, including active participation of partners
Breastfeeding, with midwives who are qualified lactation consultants available for consultation during the six week postnatal period.
ROYAL BRISBANE AND WOMEN'S HOSPITAL (RBWH) FAQ'S
The following FAQs are specific to the RBWH Birth Centre. While birth centres generally operate on a similar basis, women should contact their local birth centre to confirm the policies of that centre. Birth centre locations and further FAQs can be found at www.fbc.org.au .
What birthing aids are available to assist me during labour and birth? There are a variety of aids available.These include a double headed shower, birth ball, bean bag, birth stool, mirror and the opportunity to access the pool for water immersion for pain relief and/or birth.
What forms of pain relief are available? What if I decide I want further pain relief on theday? The philosophy of the Birth Centre aims to support women to deliver their babies with as little intervention as possible. The forms of pain relief available in the Birth Centre include; water immersion, use of TENS machine (own supply), sterile water injections, Entonox gas (nitrous oxide), and if required, narcotic injections. , Further pain relief is available however this would require a transfer to the Birth Suite.
What will happen if I have complications during labour? Will I have to be transferred to Birth Suite? If there is a problem during your labour that requires a transfer to Birth Suite, your midwife will discuss this with you, and whenever possible, your midwife will accompany you and care for you in the Birth Suite in conjunction with Birth Suite medical staff.
How soon after birth will I get to go home and what postnatal care will be available? The Birth Centre aims to allow families to take their babies home as soon as possible (usually same day as the birth) after a minimum of 4-6 hours to ensure you and your baby are healthy and safe to go to home. Once home you will be supported by your midwife team with phone calls and home visits to ensure you and your baby are travelling well.
Am I eligible to apply for birth centre care? To qualify you must live in the catchment area for the RBWH. The catchment area for RBWH is the Brisbane River going north to the Pine River. Secondly, your pregnancy will need to be ‘low risk’ as determined by Birth Centre staff, taking into consideration your medical history, your blood and ultrasound results.
How do I get a referral to the Birth Centre? Ask your doctor for a referral to the RBWH Birth Centre using the following guidelines:
GP Referral (must nominate Birth Centre as preferred option). If you have birthed at the RBWH Birth Centre previously, please also have the GP write the name of one of your midwives on the application.
Birth Centre model of care is allocated by ‘ballot’ which is done at 12 weeks gestation. It’s worth noting that late applications are welcome as spaces can become available and there is a waiting list. Women will receive a text message confirming they are in the ballot. If you do not receive this contact Maternity Outpatients.
The midwives at the Birth Centre do the ‘booking in’ appointment at the Birth Centre at approximately 14 weeks gestation.
**Please check this information with the RBWH Birth Centre – 3636 8966
Can I get a referral for the Birth Centre if I am late in my pregnancy? If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can be referred to the Birth Centre at any time during your pregnancy, even during the final trimester.
FRIENDS OF THE BIRTH CENTRE FAQ'S
Why the Friends are needed Friends of the Birth Centre Queensland Association Inc (FBC) supports and promotes the safe, low cost natural birthing environment offered by birth centres within the public health system. We do this by:
Acting as consumer representatives for women-centred birthing options and improved access for women to birthing options which promote safe, natural processes
Offering financial support to provide resources and equipment to birth centres
Actively bringing families together through a morning tea program with guest speakers and on-going support and friendship.
Our Aims At FBC we believe that birth is a normal, natural and safe process, and that continuity of care by a known midwife (through pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period) in a comfortable environment offers the best outcomes for mother, baby and family. Further, FBC believes that this model of care is grossly undervalued and undersupplied in Australian maternity services. As a consequence, FBC:
Promotes and supports birth centres
Empowers women to trust their ability to birth and mother
Supports midwives and other health practitioners who respect a woman’s childbirth choices.
What you can do to help FBC was established in 1995 and is based in Brisbane. Independently run arms of FBC also operate in birth centre locations in Mackay, the Gold Coast, Townsville and Toowoomba. As a not-for-profit organisation that receives no government funding we rely solely on our membership and fundraising to carry out our activities. If you would like to support the right of women to have a choice of childbirth options you can:
Become an FBC member and receive our newsletter packed full of birth stories, news on maternity services around the states, updates on FBC events and much more
Make a donation to FBC
Like us on Facebook and stay up to date with the events and activities of FBC, and/or
Write to your hospital and political representatives advocating for birth centre care.