Women can choose to give birth at either Parkes or Forbes hospitals now that the new Lachlan Midwifery Group Practice (MGP) has started booking in expectant mothers.
The Practice started booking in pregnant women on Thursday.
It's been 19 months since the maternity unit at the Parkes Hospital last delivered a baby - the service having to shut because of a shortage of medical practitioners to support birthing, forcing Parkes mums to travel to Forbes.
"Where the pregnancy is low risk, mums can now choose to birth at either Parkes or Forbes Hospital through the MGP," acting Lachlan Health Service Manager Jenni McGee said on Friday.
"When pregnant women call the central intake line on 6861 2439, they will get to speak to our maternity team about the choices available, and which may be the right option for them.
"This is ultimately a decision based on both a risk assessment and the mother's choice."
The Midwifery Group Practice provides a mother with a midwife who cares for them during pregnancy, birth journey and afterwards.
Ms McGee said the MGP is for women with a low risk pregnancy, and no medical conditions.
"They will have a primary midwife working with them throughout their pregnancy which really helps develop understanding and trust," she said.
"Two midwives will attend the birth and the primary midwife will visit mum and baby at home for up to six weeks after the birth.
Midwives are trained specialists in normal pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal care and they have support from specialist GP obstetricians if required during pregnancy.
The MGP midwives work together in a small group.
"If there are any developments during the pregnancy that changes the risk assessment, the midwife will work with mum and her other healthcare providers to make arrangements to give birth at Forbes, where obstetric and anaesthetic services are available," Ms McGee said.
"It may be necessary, depending on the risks, for the birth to occur at another hospital in the district but this is less likely."
The Lachlan Maternity Service will commence its Maternity Antenatal and Postnatal Program (MAPP) clinics from February 1.
MAPP provides a mum with a midwife who cares for them before the birth and afterwards at home.
The woman's labour and birth may occur at Forbes, Orange, Dubbo or other hospitals depending on the woman and her baby's needs.
"MAPP is for all women who wish to have shared care with a midwife and a GP obstetrician or specialist obstetrician, and is designed for women with health conditions and who may have more complex pregnancies," Ms McGee said.
"We are very excited for the women in Lachlan and the wider region because they will have a choice of several different models of care.
"We know the difference it will make for women to be able to give birth to their babies close to home."
Lachlan Maternity Service's new website has been launched and can be found here.
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