In June 2023, we commenced a project to review and update the Maternity and Neonatal eHandbook guidelines, with a view to targeting completion in 2024. Please be aware that pending this review, some of the current guidelines may be out of date. In the meantime, we recommend that you also refer to more contemporaneous evidence.
As evidence relating to the benefits and safety of homebirth grows, this guidance provides practical advice for Victorian maternity and neonatal care providers to support, sustain and expand safe homebirth.
While intended for midwifery, medical, nursing and allied health professionals, this guidance is also helpful for women and their families when considering if homebirth is suitable for them.
Public and private maternity and neonatal services are encouraged to use this guidance to consider the possibility of providing homebirth services and the development of continuity of care and carer models.
Maternity services and clinicians are responsible for ensuring all maternity care, including homebirth services, is evidence-based, safe and of high quality, and for ensuring:
- women are actively involved in decisions about their care
- the individual needs of the woman are met
- advice about assessment, management and guidance on escalation of care is consistent and practical.
Guidance for starting a public homebirth program is available in Implementing a public home birth program: Guidance for Victorian public health services.
We examined 20 papers that compared the outcomes of planned homebirth to planned hospital birth at the onset of labour among low-risk women.
This guideline was developed by an expert working group of clinicians and consumer representatives.
Peer review and public submissions were considered prior to publication.
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Due for review: June 2024