How Birthing on Country helps Indigenous mums

It's not about homebirths, it's about connecting culture with clinical care, says Melanie Robinson

As proposals go, it seems radical: MBS funding for midwives to attend Indigenous women with low-risk pregnancies wanting homebirths on culturally significant land. The reform was one among a range of suggestions made by the MBS Review Taskforce through its Midwife Reference Group last year. It argued the reforms would help support Indigenous mothers to give birth on their traditional lands, establishing a spiritual connection for their babies, one part of the Birthing on Country concept.

The recommendations drew a swift reaction from the RACGP, which expressed concern about the clinical safety of homebirths.

We speak with Melanie Robinson, CEO of the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives, who says Birthing on Country is widely misunderstood but is key to improving health outcomes for Indigenous women and their babies.