Maternity Policy: “Towards Normal Birth in NSW”

By The Policy Directive Ministry of Health, Document Number PD2010_045
Publication date 29-Jun-2010

What is the Normal Birth Policy?


A policy aiming to:

• increase the vaginal birth rate in NSW and decrease the Caesarean rate**

• develop, implement and evaluate strategies to support women to have a positive experience of pregnancy and birth

• ensure that midwives and doctors have the knowledge and skills to support women who choose to give birth without technological interventions unless necessary, use non-pharmacological interventions, use birthing pools and different positions for labour and birth.

** currently one in three Australian women undergo this major adbominal surgery – yet the World Health Organisation states that rates over about 10-15% have no positive health benefit. These women do however have all the usual short and long term negative health risks of ceasarean section.

“… when caesarean section rates rise above 15%, risks of adverse health outcomes begin to outweigh the benefits.” –  Einarsdóttir K, Kemp A, Haggar FA, Moorin RE, Gunnell AS, et al. (2012) Increase in Caesarean Deliveries after the Australian Private Health Insurance Incentive Policy Reforms.
Ask your medical care provider what their personal caesarean rate is? Is their care style resulting in excessive use of this very serious intervention that brings a threefold increased risk in maternal morbidity?


The purpose of the action plan is to:

• increase the number of women starting labour spontaneously

• increase the number of women receiving support at home in early labour

• reduce the use of interventions that women experience in labour, particularly augmentation of labour, analgesia and electronic fetal monitoring

• enhance experiences and satisfaction with care during pregnancy and childbirth including social and emotional aspects of care

• enable women to be better prepared for birth and early parenting with increased participation in decision-making

• increase women’s sense of self confidence and self esteem in the early postnatal period which may have an important role in the prevention of postnatal distress or depression

reduce unnecessary interventions.

normal birth