Midwife Mary Ziegler facilitates homebirths on the Sunshine Coast.
Midwife Mary Ziegler facilitates homebirths on the Sunshine Coast. John McCutcheon

Relationship key to a successful, safe homebirth

THE relationship midwife Mary Ziegler builds with a mother throughout a pregnancy guides how she delivers their baby.

Mrs Ziegler only offers homebirth, having delivered about 400 babies on the Sunshine Coast since leaving the hospital setting in 2009.

She has been a nurse for more than 40 years and a midwife for nearly 25 years.

"It (midwifery) was really my passion," Mrs Ziegler said.

"Even though I trained as a nurse it was very medical and routine."

She generally sees her mothers from about 12 weeks into the pregnancy and gets to know them through until about six weeks after birth.

"All the research has proven that continuity of midwifery care... has the best outcome.

"When the women can birth at home, they are really excited (and) they are really prepared."

Mrs Ziegler said her transfer to hospital rate was low, with about 6 per cent her mothers needing to have caesarian section births.

She said in 25 years of birthing she was yet to encounter a life or death situation.

"You know the women so well, you know all the issues.

"You have got to be really in touch with your intuition and your gut feeling."

She said being at a labour the entire time also helped make critical decisions, such as when it was time to transfer.

"A homebirth midwife is there from the start so you are weighing up an entire labour.

"You've got a big picture to work from."