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News story from Home birth week celebration

Home water births a ‘wonderful time’

Inez and Thomas, Rachel and Zach, Leith, Juna and Bren


Happy Home Birth Week!

We would like to invite all home birthers, babies, supporters, children, midwives, students and whanau  to celebrate home birth week with us. We are hosting a morning tea on Friday (29th October) from 10.00am at Community Birth Services, Level 2 Westside Chambers, 151 The Square. All welcome!

Report: National Homebirth Conference 2009

The National Homebirth Conference Oct 9, 10 & 11 in Christchurch this year was a joyful and affirming coming together of all parts of what homebirth means in Aotearoa.

Held at the beautiful Wairoa Trust facilities just outside the city, the weekend felt like a chance to escape the every-day and take some time to re-focus on the simple truths about homebirthing; both the long-held beliefs and the cutting edge research that support homebirth as a viable & vibrant option in our community.

The main theme for the conference was Birth Without Fear and a number of key note speakers and plenary sessions spoke to the amazing ways in which we can break free from the pervasive attitude of fear that society deluges us with.

Key note speaker Sarah Wickham spoke about the framing of risk in the medical sphere and reminded us that ‘risk’ is synonymous with ‘chance’ and that the language we use surrounding child-bearing can so easily influence fear in women and midwives where it could be inspiring confidence and courage. Life, Sarah Wickham pointed out, is inherently filled with risk/chance and if we are so intent on avoiding all of it, we will not end up being risk-free, but being devoid of the experiences of living.

There were also several presentations by midwives talking about their current research into the realm of homebirth. Jacqui Anderson, Juliet Thorpe,  Julie Richards (pictured above), and Suzanne Miller all brought forward their findings which highlighted that women who make the choice to birth at home have significantly better outcomes even within the care of the same midwife, or when they are not considered strictly ‘low-risk’. They also ventured into homebirthing statisitics and explained the range of ‘normal’ with regards to time during labour, birth and afterwards can be both fluid and safe at home.

Several other notable speakers included Sheryl Joy Christian who spoke about the homebirthing community at Gloriavale. In the past 10 years they have only needed to transport to hospital for 11 births – this with over 200 babies born! She explained that girls in their community grew up around homebirth and therefore developed the inherent belief that it was a challenging, but ordinary task that there were undoubtedly capable of. Something to consider when we look to our own daughters; the birthers of the future.

Nathan Mikaere-Wallis also gave a  talk on brain development. It included such fascinating points such as – the amount of time a baby spends in face-to-face ‘gazing’ positions has a direct effect on the length of their focused attention span as a adult. His information on cortex development and its vital importance in becoming functioning adults was extremely encouraging of gentle hands-on parenting and keeping baby close day and night.

In the warm and peaceful atmosphere of the conference, babies were carried, breastfed and put down for naps in amongst the general activity. It was great to see such a normal inclusion of children – and quite striking  that over the course of three days a crying baby was almost never heard!

At the close of the conference there was a gathering to celebrate and to return the water held in the conference’s communal vessel to the earth. Some of the water was saved to be carried to the next hui, conference or meeting of women. It was a moment of solidarity and midwives, childbirth educators, mothers and women from all stages of life gathered together to be thankful for this opportunity to learn and grow.

The Business of Being Born – Movie Screening


Directed by Abby Epstein, Executive Produced by Ricki Lake

ON: Sunday 5th October 2008

LOCATION & TIME:  Speirs Centre, Palmerston North at 2pm

TICKETS:  by gold coin donation, phone 356 BABY or email mhbanewsletter at hotmail dot com to reserve your seats today.

Manawatu Home Birth Association and the NZ College of Midwives are pleased to announce a special benefit screening of:



In 2001, actress Ricki Lake gave birth to her second child with the assistance of a midwife in her home bathtub. She made the choice for a home birth after she experienced unwanted medical interventions while delivering her first child at a hospital birthing center. Ricki succeeded in giving birth on her own terms and the experience was so unexpectedly empowering and life-changing that she felt every woman should know what they could be missing out on.

Continue reading ‘The Business of Being Born – Movie Screening’

Home Birth Association Meeting

We had a meeting yesterday at one of our member’s homes in Palmerston North. There were 5 women and 6 children present. There are lots of projects on the way in the near future for the Manwatu Home Birth Association.

  • Firstly we are preparing a poster / pamphlet / bumper sticker campaign to promote home birth.
  • Also discussed was the possibility of bringing the film ‘The Business of Being Born’ to Palmerston North.
  • We heard from some of our members that attended a meeting organised by the Manawatu District Health Board where we met with providers of antenatal services to families in our area in order to touch base and make sure the women they are in contact with hear about the option of homebirth.
  • The next hui (where home birth associations from around the country get together) is in September – time to start preparing our minds for this.
  • One of our members pointed out that there are some blow up paddling pools with wide sides available at The Warehouse for about $50 on special at the moment (it’s winter). These make great birth pools that you can keep for later use as a paddling pool.

The meeting was nicely completed with the consumption of freshly made queen’s cake and hot drinks all round.

Our next meeting is scheduled for Friday July 7th at 1pm in Palmerston North. If you are interested in coming along email mhbanewsletter at hotmail dot com or phone 356 Baby for further details. We would appreciate your input and ideas as to how we can help more families enjoy the amazing journey of birthing at home.