Midwives Demand Legal Support for Home Birthing ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Siiri Põllumaa wants equal status for home births.
Siiri Põllumaa wants equal status for home births. Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

Families representing pregnant women and midwives asked the government to eliminate a legal vacuum that has surrounded home births for the last 10 years.

Estonian Midwives' Union president Siiri Põllumaa said that as early as 2001 the Midwives' Union, the Estonian Home Birth Support Union, and the Estonian Gynaecologists` Society worked with the Ministry of Social Affairs to organize the possibility of home births. 

"During the last ten years the ministry has not prepared a single bill which would enable midwives to legally assist in home births," said Põllumaa.
 
Põllumaa noted that in 2006 Estonia's chancellor of justice informed the Midwives' Union that there were no reasonable grounds to forbid home births and the restrictions present were not in accordance with the Constitution. Parliament's social commission requested at its 2008 sitting that the Ministry of Social Affairs quickly find a solution to legalize home births.
 
Still, Estonian women have made the decision to give birth at home knowing they do so without state support, acknowledgement, or professional assistance.
 
Põllumaa said approximately 300 women have given birth at home over the past 10 years in unequal, unsafe circumstances, when compared with women in developed European nations.
 
"In the majority of European Union countries home birth has been legalized and is state-funded. Also, the World Health Organization recognizes home birth as a safe choice for women in low-risk categories and also recognizes a woman's right to choose her place of giving birth," said Põllumaa.
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