Empowering mums

MARY Young remembers taking her first breath, her mother's face and those of the doctors and nurses in the birthing suite.

Having recalled that moment with the help of hypnotherapy, Ms Young says birth should be a pleasurable experience for mother and child.

In a state-first medical collaboration, Ms Young, who is a midwife, and obstetrician Kirsten Small have come together to form Circle of Care.

Ms Young said Dr Small was also the first obstetrician to bulk bill in Queensland, making the service even more accessible.

"What we're passionate about is that women experience the best birthing experience possible, no matter which economy they give birth in," Ms Young said.

"It's about the birthing experience ... it's about the journey into motherhood. That journey is going to be one that has a profound positive effect on their lives and their babies' lives.

"Babies remember the birth, from the moment the baby enters the world.

"I can remember my birth and who was in that room and the effect everything had through the rest of my life.

"That's why I'm so passionate to prepare for birth to be a beautiful, sacred event. That means motherhood is going to be so much more fulfilling for them. They had this wonderful experience.

"Why can't we change birth to be a really positive experience?

"We have the team to do it.

"Women need to have options on the Coast. That's important."

Circle of Care is a new antenatal program based in Buderim and offers expectant mothers maternal expertise, support, education and health assessment.

Ms Young and Dr Small worked together at Selangor Hospital in Nambour for many years and are proud to launch the program through Know Your Midwife, a team of midwives and a woman-centred obstetrician.

Through Circle of Care, mums-to-be can also tap into the complete services of Know Your Midwife team of specialists including mental health experts, chiropractors, dietitians, acupuncturists, Bowen therapists and homeopaths.

The average cost for the full program is less than $5000. Women pay per session, receive a rebate for most of the costs from Medicare and also may be able to claim for the cost of midwifery services.

Ms Young said women should be able to choose their care, regardless of whether they have private health insurance, and have access to a midwife.

She said research showed midwives were critically important throughout the birthing process and decreased the possibility of post-natal depression.

"The way the things are going on the Coast, the caesarean rate is climbing and women are still experiencing traumatic births," Ms Young said.

"They need to have preparation before conception through to parenthood.

"Women's choices are disempowered when they walk through the doors: they hand the power over to the hospital. We know with the information and reputation they receive in this program, they will go empowered to make the decision and take control of what happens in there."

Dr Small said she wished this level of care had been provided when she had her children.

"When I was having my own kids, what I really wanted was a midwife with me from beginning to end. Even though I worked in the healthcare system, it was near impossible for me to pull that off," she said. "Working with the Circle of Care, the women I'm seeing can have a midwife, they form working relationships with from beginning to end. This is the way I've wanted to be involved in maternity care - to finally be able to pull it off and have government support."

For more information, visit knowyourmidwife.com.au.

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