OUR CHOICE: Susan Gough leads the rally outside Ipswich Hospital to call on the hospital board to allow water births.
OUR CHOICE: Susan Gough leads the rally outside Ipswich Hospital to call on the hospital board to allow water births. Inga Williams

Water births banned at Ipswich Hospital

A GROUP of more than 10 mothers and soon-to-be mums rallied with their families outside Ipswich Hospital yesterday as the local health board ruled out water births in the region.

West Moreton Hospital and Health Service chief executive Lesley Dwyer said Ipswich Hospital was not in a position to support water births.

"Due to a number of key factors we are unable to offer this service in a way that would maintain our ultimate objective of patient safety," Ms Dwyer said.

She said Ipswich Hospital's maternity unit was not equipped for water births, the hospital was not accredited for water births and maternity staff were not trained to facilitate water births.

Any expecting mum wanting a water birth will have to travel to the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital or Gold Coast University Hospital, an extra 45 minutes to an hour travel time.

Redbank Plains mother Susan Gough, who had a water birth, said the extra travel time meant there was no viable option for women in the region to have a water birth.

"My labour was 45 minutes, so I wouldn't have even made it if I had to go that far," she said.

Mrs Gough said that the rally was about assuring that women had the right to decide.

"It's not whether you agree with water births or not, it's not whether you would even choose to have a water birth or not, it's about the hospital taking away a woman's right to choose," she said.

Brassall mum Peta De Villiers, whose 19 month old was a water birth, said that women had to be given the option to choose a water birth.

"It is extremely important to have a safe option available to women," she said.

"Water makes you feel in control, it gives you a safe environment and is a natural pain relief.

"It is our right to choose where we give birth and how we give birth."

Ms Dwyer said a very small number of expectant mothers who come to Ipswich Hospital request a water birth.

"At this stage, there is no plan to introduce water births at Ipswich Hospital, due to the small demand for this option and the complexities and costs involved in setting up the appropriate infrastructure," she said.


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