EXPECTING MORE: Mothers and pregnant women from all walks of life shared their birthing experiences and desire to bring more maternity services to Gladstone at a meeting on Wednesday.
EXPECTING MORE: Mothers and pregnant women from all walks of life shared their birthing experiences and desire to bring more maternity services to Gladstone at a meeting on Wednesday. Ebony Battersby

Women push for birthing choices to be protected

MATERNITY services at Gladstone Hospital have become a key election issue for local women, who on Wednesday gathered to ask for their choices to be protected.

The presence of independent candidate Craig Butler at the meeting of mothers and pregnant women was enough to sway the vote of local Emily Burtt.

>> Lack of birthing choices angers Gladstone mums

A mother of four, Mrs Burtt was shocked to discover she would not be able to deliver her baby naturally at Gladstone Hospital due to a new policy relocating vaginal births after caesarean (VBAC) to Rockhampton.

"I didn't even realise I was considered a VBAC," Mrs Burtt said.

"I've had a natural birth since the caesarean delivery, but apparently I'm still considered to be high risk. I'm sad and angry."

Mrs Burtt, who is still breastfeeding her 20 month child, says if she was transferred out of Gladstone during birth, it would make life extremely difficult for her husband, children and family.

And there would be the additional costs of accommodation and planning.

With the policy in place, there also is the chance of giving birth while being transported elsewhere, as happened to Anna McKee seven months ago.

With her partner travelling in a car behind her, Ms McKee was left alone and afraid while giving birth in what she calls the "most terrifying experience of her life".

"All I wanted was for my partner to be with me and that was taken away," she said.

"Rockhampton Hospital was not even aware I was on my way there. There were miscommunications between hospitals and then I ended up being transferred to Brisbane."

Ms McKee wants the hospital service to answer one question - how is it safer giving birth in an ambulance than a fully equipped hospital?



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