Birthing on Country

The best start in life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies and their families.

Birthing on Country is a metaphor for the best start in life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies and their families, an appropriate transition to motherhood and parenting for women and an integrated, holistic and culturally appropriate model of care for all.

History

​For more than 60,000 years Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have birthed their babies on traditional lands.

Birthing on Country has been described as an international movement with the overarching aim of returning birthing services to Indigenous communities and Indigenous control to enable a healthy start to life.

The Birthing on Country agenda relates to system-wide reform and is perceived as an important opportunity in ‘closing the gap’ between Indigenous and non-Indigenous health and quality of life outcomes.

In 2012, the Australian Maternity Services Inter-jurisdictional Committee, in collaboration with the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, held the first national Birthing on Country Workshop to progress Australian Government commitment to Birthing on Country.

People gathered from across Australia, with a strong Indigenous presence, to discuss Birthing on Country and determine the next steps. Participants agreed that the Birthing on Country project, should move from being aspirational (policy) to actual (implementation). They recommended exemplar sites be set up in urban, rural, remote and very remote communities and funded for success and sustainability.

The Birthing on Country agenda relates to system-wide reform and is perceived as an important opportunity in ‘closing the gap’ between Indigenous and non-Indigenous health and quality of life outcomes.
 

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The Grandmother's Law​
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Birthing on Country Workshop
-July 2012
 

News & Media

On Health Report with Dr Norman Swan
Adrian Carson and Kristie Watego with Dr Norman Swan about holistic and health childbirth for Indigenous women
Paper in the Lancet Global Health!
Effect of a Birthing on Country service redesignon maternal and neonatal health outcomes for FirstNations Australians: a prospective, non-randomised, interventional trial. The Lancet Global Health.
Indigenous birthing services vital to health of mothers and babies
Charles Darwin University midwifery researchers are calling for Indigenous-led birthing centres to expand across Australia after a seven-year study found a 50 per cent decrease in preterm births and an improvement in breastfeeding and antenatal care for First Nations families.
IBUS report March 2021
New IBUS paper shows Birthing in Our Community program reduced preterm birth, more women attending antenatal care and more breastfeeding.
IBUS Community Report Jan21
The IBUS Study provides evidence that working in collaboration with community-controlled organisations is the key to reducing pre-term birth and enables Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies the best start to life.
Prof Yvette Roe, co-author on latest paper
Beyond 2020: Addressing racism through transformative Indigenous health and cultural safety education
MWRC visits the Stars Foundation at Haileybury Rendall school
Lawurppa told the girls that she actually attended school on the current Haileybury Rendall School campus in the early 1970s. read more here.
Hopes for birthing centre in NT
Listen to the NITV podcast to meet the dedicated women who are working hard to try and get birthing services on country on the remote community of Galiwinku on Elcho island NT.
COVID19 and Maternity Care First Nations Australians
COVID and Maternity Care for First Nations Australians
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Birthing on Country acknowledges the traditional custodians across the lands on which we live and work, and we pay our respects to Elders both past and present.

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MWRC visits the Stars Foundation at Haileybury Rendall school

Lawurppa told the girls that she actually attended school on the current Haileybury Rendall School campus in the early 1970s. read more here.

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