The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) and the Australian College of Midwives (ACM) acknowledge the important role a support person can play for a woman giving birth.
A birth partner can include a partner, friend or family member as well as a doula or non-qualified birth attendant. They can provide non-medical, emotional, mental, cultural, spiritual and physical support during the pregnancy, childbirth and post-partum period. These partners can provide comfort and assist women to meet their goals for their childbearing experience.
As well as this support person, RANZCOG and ACM maintain that every woman and their baby should have the direct care of a qualified and registered professional at their birth. In Australia, women giving birth are attended by a midwife, some will also be attended by a doctor. These professionals must be able to provide clinical care and be an expert in managing emergencies when they arise. This is equally important and necessary for births at home and in community settings.
Pregnancy and childbirth are an important time in a woman’s life. Communication and trust between the health professionals caring for pregnant women is fundamental to optimising outcomes for women and their babies. This includes recognition of each professions’ expertise and professional standards being clearly defined, so everyone knows what's expected of them.
All women have the right to a safe and positive childbirth experience.