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Understanding Birth Trauma in NSW

4 September 2023

The Australian College of Midwives (ACM) welcomes the NSW Senate Select Committee inquiry into Birth Trauma, bringing this important topic to the forefront. The recognition that birth trauma exists, is the first step towards prioritising outcomes that will reduce the incidence and impact of birth trauma on women, families, and health care providers. 

Chief Midwife Alison Weatherstone and NSW Branch Chair Vanessa Scarf will be representing ACM at the inquiry today discussing the details of the ACM submission put forward along with the other over 4000 submissions made by organisations and individuals who have been impacted by birth trauma. The overwhelming response to this inquiry into birth trauma, highlights the need for it.

There is a growing body of evidence that birth trauma is increasing in Australia. The largest survey of Australian women’s birth experiences demonstrated 1:10 women reflected they had experienced obstetric violence and 28% of women had experienced birth trauma.

ACM Chief Midwife Alison Weatherstone said while midwifery education impresses upon midwives the importance of providing respectful, woman-centred continuity of care, the reality is that many midwives feel unable to provide it and it’s causing midwives to leave the profession.

“The incidents of physical and emotional birth trauma relayed to us from midwives via a member survey are eye opening.”

“It’s unacceptable for birthing women to experience anything less than respectful maternity care from all their care providers.

“Maternity service reform and the expansion of continuity of care models is needed to improve birth outcomes for women and babies in NSW.”

ACM welcomes the opportunity to participate in this key inquiry.


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