Mother and baby health 'is paramount'

The principal concern for the medical profession must remain the health and safety of mothers and babies, it has been suggested.

Dr Rosanna Capolingua, president of the Australian Medical Association, has responded with caution to the government's Maternity Services Review launched by federal health minister Nicola Roxon.

The review called for midwives to be given more responsibilities and access to the nation's Medicare system.

However, Dr Capolingua commented: "The health of mother and child must take precedence over all other considerations. This is also the key concern of families."

"We will keep government accountable for any changes that lower the bar on the health of women and their babies."

Dr Capolingua said women should not be pressurised into having natural births where there is a risk, however small, of complications being experienced.

She said it is "not enough" to run maternity services on the belief that birth is a natural process, as when things go wrong, mothers need immediate access to an obstetrician, an anaesthetist and a paediatrician.

Earlier this month, researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US, claimed that the life experiences of the mother can have an effect on the biology of her offspring.ADNFCR-2094-ID-19044836-ADNFCR