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WEL calls for less internvention in childbirth



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WOMEN'S ELECTORAL LOBBY AUSTRALIA Inc. PO Box 191. CIVIC SQI/AR.E ACT 2608 Ph: 02 62476679 Fax.· 02 62474669 Email: welaust@clynamite.com.au

Web page: http://www.wel.org.au

M E D IA RELEASE -

’ 27 A ugust 1 9 9 9

W-EL's VISION WEL Australia is an independent

organisation dedicated to creating a society where women 5

participation and potential are unrestricted, acknowledged and

respected and where

women and men. share equally in society's responsibilities and

rewards.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WEL CALLS FOR LESS INTERN VENTION

IN CHILDBIRTH

W om en’s E lectoral Lobby Au s tra lia c o n g ra tu la te s th e S e n a te on its Inquiry into the im p o rta n t issu e of c h ild b irth p ro c e d u re s in Aust-ra j itOjhaveghacCThe o p p o rtu n ity to p rese n t evidence a t thjrG om m

j iM ^ornTrutmefnearin g s today. ’

The key rec o m m e n d a tio n in WEL’s s u b m issio n to th e S en ate Inquiry a d d re s s e s m any of th e sh o rtc o m in g s in th e c u rre n t sy stem of m ate rn ity services:

That th e Federal G overnm ent undertake a n ation al childbirth ed u cation program to cou n ter th e en vironm en t o f fear w hich currently prevails. This should be inform ed by world wide and d om estic research, designed by a panel com prised o f equal nm bers o f ob stetrician s, m idw ives and

con su m ers and p resen t birth as a norm al part o f a w om an's life.

T he way w om en a re tre a te d in b irth is a key in d ic a to r of w o m en ’s s ta tu s in th a t society, a n d in A u stra lia w om en fare p a rtic u la rly badly.

“For too long now m edical p ra c titio n e rs h av e so u g h t to co n tro l a n d m an a g e a p ro cess w hich w o m en ’s bodies in th e v a st m ajority of c a se s a re well ab le a n d b e st eq u ip t to h a n d le ” said H elen L eonard, N ational E xecutive Officer of WEL.

“The c a e s a re a n sectio n ra te of b irth in A u stra lia is dou b le a n d in som e c a se s triple th a t reco m m en d ed by th e W orld H ealth O rg an isatio n . A u stra lia n h o sp ita ls a n d o b s te tric ia n s routinely p rac tic e in te rv e n tio n s long since found by a u th o rita tiv e re s e a rc h to be h a rm fu l for th e overw helm ing m ajority of w om en.”

B irth is a p ro fo u n d ev en t in a w o m an ’s life. It involves in te n se physical a n d em otional ch allen g es, a n d m a rk s a key tra n s itio n in h e r life, one w hich I c h a n g es h e r p e rc e p tio n s of th e world forever. It is a n em otional a n d physical I p ro cess a n d b o th a s p e c ts a re in trin sic to it.

i “A u stra lia n society m u s t a c ce p t th e overw helm ing body of re se a rc h show ing I th a t w om en b irth b e st w hen e d u c ate d , e n c o u ra g e d a n d given confidence th a t ! they c a n b irth w ith o u t in tervention. A clim ate of fear of b irth perv ad es | A u stra lia n society. T his fear c o n trib u te s to th e high level of u n n e c e sa ry i in terv en tio n w hich A u stra lia n w om en have to face w hen they e n te r a h o sp ital

to give b irth ,” sa id Ingrid M cKenzie, a u th o r of W EL’s su b m issio n .

WEL h o p es th a t th is Inquiry will not m eet th e sa m e fate a s a t le a st 5 o th e r

! in q u iries w hich have reco m m en d ed ch a n g e in c h ild b irth p ro ced u res: ignored.

i For fu rth e r in fo rm atio n contact:

I Helen Leonard

02 6247 6 6 7 9 02 6230 2181 0 4 1 7 499 387

Ingrid McKenzie 0412 341 209

CM H E L E N ΙΛΙ V V E U M E O I A U R E I . E A S K S - 2 7 a u u c h l l d h i n h d o c : 7 OS.'X)