Toowoomba mum makes history with birth of Oliver

Oliver and his mother Trish Sullivan.
Oliver and his mother Trish Sullivan. Contributed

A TOOWOOMBA mother who made history by having a natural birth after undergoing five caesareans is on a campaign to change the way pregnant women are cared for.

Trish Sullivan, 44, is thought to be the first woman in Australia to deliver her child naturally after five uterine surgeries.

She had her first child in 1990 and underwent a caesarean due to a medical emergency.

When she fell pregnant a second time she was told by her obstetrician a natural birth would be impossible.

"It was the mentality at that time not to allow women who'd had caesareans to have vaginal births," Ms Sullivan said.

She was laughed at by doctors, called foolish and irresponsible, and was convinced to deliver her first five children through caesareans.

But she never gave up on the hope of having a natural birth.

Last year she gave birth to her son Oliver naturally, which she called the most empowering experience of her life.

She spent thousands of dollars hiring a private midwife who helped her throughout her pregnancy.

Now she's on a mission to spread the word about the rights of women.

"It's our body and it's our decision," she said.

Ms Sullivan is calling for the Queensland Government to ensure every woman has access to continuity of care during pregnancies.

Dr Geoffrey Kelsey worked as an obstetrician in Toowoomba from 1982 until 2013.

He said women were often advised not to attempt a natural birth after undergoing two caesarean births.

Dr Kelsey said the figure usually quoted - which is disputed - was that the risk of a mother rupturing her uterus jumped from 0.5% after one caesarean to 5% after two.

"Most obstetricians in Queensland would advise a mother not to have a natural birth after three caesareans," Dr Kelsey said.

He said older women were often advised to have a caesarean because of potential stress to the baby during labour.

Some studies have shown babies that are delivered naturally have a decreased risk of illness and have more diverse gut flora which they acquire in the birth canal.

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