Medicine listen up! Birthing on country makes the land shake – Science Friction

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“When you have your baby on your own country, the land shakes”, says Elaine Läwurrpa Maypilama.

For many millennia, Aboriginal women in remote East Arnhem land gave birth to babies on their traditional lands.

But for the Elcho island community of Galiwin’ku, that all changed when women were made to travel to the big smoke to give birth, far away from home.

Medical professionals said it would be safer for mothers and babies, but now Yolgnu women want to reclaim their birthing rights.

Travel with us to Elcho Island to find out why.

A Science Friction NAIDOC Week co-production between ABC Science and ABC Darwin.
The theme of NAIDOC Week in 2021 is Heal Country, heal our nation.

Produced on Wurundjeri and Larrakia traditional lands.

Guests:

Elaine Guymun 
Yolngu elder and midwife  

Elaine Läwurrpa Maypilama
Associate professor
Co-chief investigator, Caring for Mum on Country project
Molly Wardaguga Research Centre
Charles Darwin University 

Sue Kildea
Professor of Midwifery
Co-director, Molly Wardaguga Research Centre
Charles Darwin University

Dr Sarah Ireland
Co-chief investigator, Caring for Mum on Country Project
Researcher
Molly Wardaguga Research Centre
Charles Darwin University 

Dr Marilyn Clarke
@drmarilynclarke
Worimi woman, obstetrician and gynaecologist
Chair, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Health Committee 
Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Further information:

Caring for Mum on Country Project

Reducing preterm birth amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies: A prospective cohort study, Brisbane, Australia
(The Lancet, 2019)

Caring for Mum On Country: Exploring the transferability of the Birthing On Country RISE framework in a remote multilingual Northern Australian context
(Women and Birth, 2020)
Implementing continuity of midwife carer – just a friendly face? A realist evaluation
(BMC Health Services Research, 2021)
Maternal deaths in Australia
(Australian Institute of Health and Welfare)





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