Haylee Fox: Overuse of Obstetric Interventions in Australia

Induction of labour, caesarean section, vacuum, forceps, episiotomy, epidural. Buzz words in your average birth suite in Australia today. But have we gone too far, and started normalising these when they potentially are unnecessary and can in fact cause risk or harmful consequences?

Today’s episode looks at the overuse of obstetric interventions is Australia. I interview Haylee Fox from James Cook University in Townsville QLD, about her research titled “Evidence of overuse? Patterns of obstetric interventions during labour and birth among Australian mothers”.

We discuss questions like why an overuse of interventions can be harmful in terms of physical consequences and risks that can be put on women and their babies and also what this costs the national health system. We uncover the political and business side to maternal health and how hard it is for recommendations and findings from research to translate into clinical practice.

Haylee uncovers that interestingly in Australia, the demographic of women more likely to ‘overuse’ obstetric interventions are wealthy, healthy, non-indigenous, urban based women and we try to unpack why this might be. Haylee suggests some steps that could be taken to prevent the overuse of unnecessary interventions and recommends individual steps women can take to prepare themselves for their own labour and birth experiences.

This is exactly the type of conversation that this podcast is all about. It’s about getting the most current, evidence-based research into the hands of everyday mums like you and me so that we can be informed and confident in our decision making.

To read the paper “Evidence of overuse? Patterns of obstetric interventions during labour and birth among Australian mothers” click here -

To contact Haylee email at

Definitely listen to our full conversation and if you have any comments send me a DM on IG @mumwillknow. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Have a great week mamas, and don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss the next episode.

Photo: Sophie Fletcher