Australian Home Birth Advocate Dies After Complications of Her Own Home Delivery

Caroline Lovell passed away due to birth complications that occurred during her home delivery. (Photo via Daily Mail)

An Australian woman who had lobbied the government for more support for pregnant women seeking home deliveries died herself after complications arose in the home birth of her second child.

The Daily Mail reports Caroline Lovell, 36, of Melbourne went into cardiac arrest during a Jan. 23 home delivery of Zahra, a baby girl who is in good health. Lovell is reported to have had a private midwife at the home but “unknown birth complications” resulted in heart failure.

The Daily Mail has more on Lovell’s lobbying efforts for home births:

In 2009 she told a health inquiry that midwives who assisted with home births needed proper funding and legal protection, in line with other countries.

Her written submission warned that “lives will be in threat without proper midwifery assistance” from the state.

She wrote: “On a personal note, I am quite shocked and ashamed that homebirth will no longer be a woman’s free choice in low-risk pregnancies.

“As a homebirthing mother I will have no choice but to have an unassisted birth at home as this is the place I want to birth my children.”

Lovell is also survived by her husband and 3-year-old daughter, Lulu.

The Daily Mail reports that in Australia pregnant women are discouraged from home deliveries. Beverley Lawrence Beech, chairman of the U.K.’s  Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services, said that the “medical mafia” in Australia should provide better support for expectant mothers seeking home births, but she does note that complications from home births, like that of Lovell, are extremely rare. Lawrence Beech goes as far to say that it could even be safer than hospital deliveries because “you are much less likely to have unnecessary medical intervention.”

The Herald Sun reports a spokeswoman for Midwives in Private Practice as saying this is the first maternal death she has heard of in her 15 years as a midwife.