Premature births halved by Indigenous-led maternity service

By: AMA Queensland
BRISBANE, Australia - March 17, 2021 - PRLog -- A new study has revealed the extraordinary success of a unique Brisbane-based, Indigenous-led birthing program, with a 50 per cent reduction in premature births.

CEO of the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health Adrian Carson said the Birthing in Our Community program has proven to be a game-changer for Indigenous mums.

"We established Birthing in Our Community in 2013 and the results have been astounding," Mr Carson said. "Halving the number of premature births means the babies are more likely to survive and have a healthy life.

A five-year study quantifying the health outcomes from the Birthing in Our Community program have been published in the Lancet Global Health journal.

The study also found that women accessing the program are:
  • Less likely to need a Caesarian delivery
  • Less likely to have their baby admitted to the neonatal care nursery
  • More likely to exclusively breastfeed on discharge.
Report lead author Professor Sue Kildea of the Molly Wardaguga research centre at Charles Darwin University said culturally safe birthing services should be widely available to Indigenous women.

"Standard health services in Australia often do not meet the needs of First Nations peoples, excluding them from making decisions about their care," Prof. Kildea said.

"We now have evidence that this model works, it's time to make it more widely available for Indigenous women to access."

Birthing in Our Community was established by the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service Brisbane (ATSICHS Brisbane) in partnership with the Mater Mothers' Hospital.

ATSICH Brisbane CEO Jody Currie the impact of families accessing culturally safe care around birth could not be underestimated.

"Birth is a sacred time. It is bub's first connection with culture, community and country. Enabling our families to access the right support for their birth in a safe environment makes so much difference –and has a lifelong impact," Ms Currie said.

AMA Queensland president Professor Chris Perry said the program demonstrated how a holistic team approach could ensure a healthy start to life for all Australians.

"This unique service involves doctors, midwives, social workers and other experts wrapping around a new mum to give her control and culturally safe care," Prof. Perry said.

"More than 20,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies are born each year and we would like this terrific initiative to be nationally funded."

Access the full paper at The Lancet Global Health: (

Lorraine Pacey
Source:AMA Queensland
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