Objective: to report findings from a study performed prior to the introduction of publicly funded home birth programmes in Victoria, Australia, that investigated the incidence of planned home births attended by paramedics and explored the clinical support they provided as well as the implications for education and practice. Methods: retrospective data previously collected via an in-field electronic patient care record (VACIS®) was provided by a state-wide ambulance service. Cases were identified via a comprehensive filter, manually screened and analysed using SPSS version 19. Results: over a 12-month period paramedics attended 26 intended home births. Eight women were transported in labour, most for failure to progress. Three called the ambulance service and their pre-organised midwife simultaneously. Paramedics were required for a range of complications including post partum haemorrhage, perineal tears and neonatal resuscitation. Procedures performed for mothers included IV therapy and administering pain relief. For infants, paramedics performed intermittent positive pressure ventilation, endotracheal intubation and external cardiac compression. Of the 23 women transferred to hospital, 22 were transported to hospital within 32. minutes. Conclusions: findings highlight that paramedics can provide clinical support, as well as efficient transportation, during perinatal emergencies at planned home births. Cooperative collaboration between ambulance services, privately practising midwives and maternity services to develop guidelines for emergency clinical support and transportation service may minimise risk associated with planned home births. This could also lead to opportunities for interprofessional education between midwives and paramedics.
- Intended home birth
- Perinatal emergencies ambulance
- Planned home birth