-Caroline Lovell, 36, rushed to hospital after giving birth
-Death shocks midwives across Melbourne
-Coroner to conduct a full investigation
By RICHARD SHEARS
Tragic: Caroline Lovell died delivering her own baby daughter at home
A passionate advocate of home births has died after her own home labour.
Campaigner Caroline Lovell, 36, went into cardiac arrest while giving birth to her second daughter, Zahra, at her home. She was taken to hospital but died the next day. Her daughter survived. The tragedy, in Melbourne on January 23, will re-ignite debate about the safety of home births. NHS statistics show that between 2000 and 2008, home births in the UK soared by 54 per cent.
Mrs Lovell had made arrangements for a private midwife to assist with the delivery, but unknown complications during the birth caused her heart to stop.
By the time paramedics arrived at her home, she was critically ill.
The photographer, who leaves behind her husband Nick, her first daughter Lulu, three, and newborn Zahra, had lobbied the Australian government for more state support for women who wanted 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.’
Mrs Lovell had spoken of her excitement at her impending arrival.
On October 19, she posted a message on the Facebook site for her massage business that read: ‘Maternity leave officially started this morning… had a beautiful last night at work and will keep you all posted on my burgeoning growth as a mother to be – second time round.’
The Midwives in Private Practice group said it was the first time they had heard of a mother’s death following a home birth. A spokesman said: ‘It’s very, very rare.’