Dr Wayne Herdy
Dr Wayne Herdy Warren Lynam

Beware the risks of home births says Coast doctor

HE admits he is no obstetrician, but Dr Wayne Herdy has had more than three decades as a general practitioner.

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And the Australian Medical Association of Queensland North Coast representative is clear on his view of home births.

"My view is, in obstetrics sometimes things go wrong that cannot be predicted. And they can go wrong in a big hurry in a very serious way.

"You can go from having a perfectly normal-looking delivery into a disaster, with two deadly patients in a matter of minutes if you don't have the substantial back-up medical facilities.

"This can really only occur in a hospital.

"I know women have been delivering babies in paddocks for however long humans have been around.

"However, Australia has one of the best infant mortality rates in the world. In the old days, when we were delivering babies in paddocks, the mortality rate was high.

"Technology ... blinded us to the high success rate of modern medicine.

"We have lost sight that in our great-grandmother's day, death during childbirth was the most common cause of death in women of that age group.

"The general rule of thumb in obstetrics - once a cesarean (section) always a cesarean.

"This doesn't mean you can never have a vaginal birth, but in this particular circumstance a trial natural birth should be in a closely supervised environment.

"And home birthing is not a closely supervised environment."



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