Each year in Canberra, around 5,500 babies are born. Within the almost 5,500 women who give birth each year, there is a diversity of life experiences, pre-existing health conditions, and expectations about how and where their baby should be born.
One of the benefits of living in Canberra is that we have a wide range of maternal health services that can enable women to have their baby with people they trust, who are well qualified, and know that there are specialist services available if they find they need additional care. The difficulty for women having a baby in Canberra is finding their way through the maze of information to decide which service is right for them.
In 2016, the Women’s Centre for Health Matters listened to women’s experiences of giving birth in Canberra in the past 3 years. Key findings of the research revealed that women wanted continuity of care during pregnancy, birth, and the post-natal period; consistent information and referral pathways to make it easier to find the right service at the right time; and services that are accessible, acceptable, and affordable.
In response, the Having a baby in Canberra website was launched by the Women’s Centre in August 2017 to help women find out about the full range of private and public maternal health services available to them. The response from the community has been positive, with the website providing information from planning a pregnancy, through to early pregnancy tests and deciding where to have the baby, as well as post-natal support services such as breastfeeding support and physiotherapy for mum.
But we know there are some women who would like to meet with midwives and health professionals and ask their questions in person before deciding on a service. To make this easier, the Women’s Centre will hold a Having a Baby in Canberra Expo on Saturday, 17 February from 10 am til 3 pm at the National Library.
The Expo will include talks and demonstrations, as well as opportunities to meet with maternity care health professionals including hospitals and midwives, pre-natal yoga, breastfeeding support services, genetic counselling, baby sleep support services, and more.
Being emotionally and mentally prepared for parenthood is important, and there will be a range of services at the Expo where expectant parents can learn about the “new normal” that comes with parenting, and what to do if you need help.
Having a baby in Canberra Expo is a free event, and in an area easy to access by public transport or by car. For women with older children, combine a visit to the Expo with a look at the National Library’s exhibitions, or Questacon across the road.