Home birth

The option of a homebirth is available in Western Australia either with the Community Midwifery Program, which is a government run program, or with a Privately Practising Midwife.

During your pregnancy you will see your midwife regularly to check on your progress. These appointments may take place in your home or at a community clinic. Your midwife may refer you for additional tests and advice if required.

When you go into labour, you stay home and are attended by your midwife. In some circumstances it may be necessary to transfer into hospital for additional maternity care.

Homebirth options are discussed on WA Health’s “Having a Baby” Website.

Things to consider

  • You get to work with the same small group of midwives – your primary midwives and two backup midwives. If your midwife is with you for more than 10 consecutive hours, your back-up midwife will step in and relieve your primary midwife, whether you are at home or in hospital. You have a mix of home and community clinic of antenatal care. All decisions are made in consultation with you with respect for you, your partner and your baby. CMP is delivered in partnership with WA Health. This means the service is publicly funded, and free for women who have a Medicare card. If you require a transfer to your backup hospital your midwife will go with you to hand over your care.
  • Birthing at home means that you can choose who you want at your birth as well as environment in which you labour and birth including music, fragrance, special comforts.
  • Fathers are able to have a more active supporting role as they know the environment (where the taps are / how to keep the pool water warm, etc,). See The Secrets of a Home birth Dad for more inspiration.
  • Your midwife is an expert in normal pregnancy and labour and will know if you need additional clinical assessment or care. If your midwife is concerned, she will collaborate with and refer you to an obstetrician as needed.
  • A home birth allows a woman to birth gently and calmly in a familiar environment. This encourages relaxation which has been proven to facilitate natural birth.
  • You can have a water birth. See waterbirth for more information about the benefits of water for pain relief.
  • Your chances of having a natural, drug free birth are significantly increased by being at home.
  • At home you have greater freedom to move around and adopt whatever position feels right while you labour and birth.
  • It is the midwives who go home after the birth – you can relax at home with your new family.
  • Your baby’s first breath and sensory awareness is of the home environment.
  • After the birth, your midwife will see you at home and/or in the clinic, up to 10 days after the birth.
  • This is a low risk model of care. Please see the CMP inclusion criteria for more information on eligibility.
  • Independent midwives are currently only able to access insurance for antenatal and postnatal care, not for the birth itself.
  • Independent midwifery care costs approximately $5,000.
  • To access pharmacological pain relief you need to transfer to hospital.
  • You need to assertively set visiting hours with friends and family so you can get good rest after your baby is born. As with planning a hospital birth you will need to plan babysitting for older children if you have chosen not to have them with you at your birth.
  • You need to organise backup support for cooking/cleaning/helping out with your baby, as you do after hospital births where you are discharged within 24 hours after a normal delivery.