Baby, that’s a plan

PRIVATISED services at Fiona Stanley Hospital have been blasted by the public and an independent review, but how would people feel if some services went to an organisation more touchy-feely than your average multinational.

Local midwife Abbey Rodda is trying to convince the WA health department to let her growing birthing “hub” The Nest on Silas take over some ante-natal classes.

She says with Kaleeya Hospital closing and Community Midwifery rebadging as The Bump and moving to Success, women in the Fremantle area have nothing nearby. As a result, classes in her one-year-old business are filling fast.

“Women come here because they’re not happy they have to go so far,” she told the Herald.

She’s also trying to forge closer links with the hospital so independent midwives can have some input.

“Back in the day, Attadale Hospital used to work with us.”

She fears there’s still an attitude within the department that midwives, particularly those like her who specialise in home births, are “reckless and unruly”.

“That is changing, but there’s still no insurance for home-birthing. It’s very political.”

Fiona Stanley media manager Lucy Kirwan-Ward says the women and children services nurse director would meet with Ms Rodda to discuss the idea.

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• 11-month-old Leeuwin David was enjoying his first trip to The Nest, set up by midwife Abbey Rodda. Leeuwin’s mum Solana Rosenthal gave birth at King Eddie, but hopes her next will be at home. Photo by Steve Grant.

Meanwhile, The Nest goes from strength to strength.

Ms Rodda established the East Fremantle business after splitting with Community Midwifery a little over a year ago during its tussle with the department over staffing. The department had insisted on strict shifts to save money, meaning midwives would often have to bail out on women giving birth.

“The compromise to continuity of care was more than I could deal with,” she says.

The Nest offers workshops on everything from pregnancy yoga through to breastfeeding advice and has a doula and naturopath on hand — and a funky espresso bar.

Ms Rodda says this gives women the opportunity just to drop in and have a chat, and she says it’s surprising how many new mums drop their bundle over a skinny latte.

“So many women go around carrying their birth trauma.

“It’s because so often they didn’t know they had choices,” she says, harking back to her desire to run FSH’s classes.

“People have painful experiences and want to know how to work through it, and I wanted to provide a place for them to come and find out how.”

A mum and bub’s class is also going great guns.

“There was just one woman at mums and bubs when we started, and now it’s full every week.”


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