Western Sydney couple welcomes healthy baby girl in Westmead Hospital’s first planned home birth

Proud parents Ingrid and Karl with baby Arkadia who was delivered in their North Rocks home.

Mother Ingrid Benedek is the first in Western Sydney to welcome a baby girl into the world as part of the Publicly Funded Homebirth Service (PFHS) provided through Westmead Hospital.     

The North Rocks mother experienced a midwifery-supported home birth and a healthy baby girl named Arkadia was born at 11.58pm on Tuesday. Mum and baby are doing well.   

Ingrid, baby Arkadia and Westmead Hospital midwife Olivia Becker

The choice for a home birth is an extension to the existing Midwifery Caseload Practice service currently offered at Westmead Hospital, which provides one-on-one support with a midwife throughout a woman’s pregnancy, birth, and early postnatal period. 

Ingrid said her home birth experience, which was via water birth, was relaxing, in comparison to the delivery of her previous two children.  

“When you’re in your own home, everything is personalised,” Ingrid said. 

“I had my music on, lit some candles and dimmed the lights. “I felt very safe and supported knowing my caseload midwife was with me too. 

“Being able to sleep in my own bed, have a shower in my own shower and put on my own clothes straight after the birth made me and bub settle in so nicely.”  

Westmead Hospital’s Women’s and Newborn Health Operations Director Donna Garland said that many families will greatly benefit from the home birth program.  

“Women residing in Western Sydney Local Health District are already asking to birth at home,” Donna said.

Westmead Hospital midwives helped Ingrid give birth via water birth in her home.

“This is a great way for women to have a safe, professionally-monitored, home birth experience. “Having a home birth allows women to be in a familiar place of comfort and control, surrounded and supported by loved ones.”  

To be eligible for the PFHS, women must be healthy, in a low risk pregnancy, live in Western Sydney and enrolled into Westmead Hospital’s Midwifery Caseload Practice Service.  

The program is filling up fast so enquires are essential. Access to the service is free. 

Westmead Hospital midwives Janice and Olivia (top) were present for the home birth. Front: Dad Karl Ghest, baby Arkadia and Ingrid Benedek.

Other hospitals in NSW where publicly funded home births are available (as of 2019) are the Royal Hospital for Women, Wollongong, John Hunter and Byron Central. 

For more information on the Midwifery Caseload Practice Service and Westmead Hospital’s home birth service, click here.