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Home Birth – It’s your choice!

Home Birth – It’s your choice!

Home Birth Awareness Week commences from Monday October 24, 2011 – appropriately, this is also observed as Labour Day. For Home Birth Aotearoa, the national organisation of New Zealand’s home birth groups, the week will kick off with the gifting of “It’s Your Choice!” care packages to twenty-five locations around the country. The care packages will contain meaningful messages, gifts and resources for these volunteer-led groups that are being recognised by Home Birth Aotearoa as integral to New Zealand’s essentially grassroots home birth movement: “Every person who supports home birth within their community is creating positive change to our birth culture here in New Zealand” says Home Birth Aotearoa spokesperson Jeannette Lazet.

Home Birth Aotearoa believes that New Zealand is leading the globe in terms of maternity choices and Ms Lazet says that: “The home birth scene is thriving here - we are supporting levels of enthusiasm and development not seen since the 90s”. Regional home birth groups are diverse in structure and consist of midwives, families and whanau who volunteer at a community and national levelto encourage and support home birth choices. The theme launched this Home Birth Awareness week is: Supporting a strong and flourishing network of active home birth groups throughout Aotearoa. The intention is simple; to facilitate networking within New Zealand communities and encourage a culture of proactive, positive support for home birth and for the home birth groups of Aotearoa.

The catchphrase “Home birth - It’s your choice” is a message that Home Birth Aotearoa actively promotes to all well women in New Zealand. In giving thought to how this phrase applies at a community and national level, Home Birth Aotearoa recognised the ripple effects of an empowered birth choice: “It goes beyond the experience itself. The basic act of sharing home birth experiences, knowledge and choices empowers people at an individual, community, national and international level. This is the simple gravity of birth and of human experience” says Ms Lazet.

To date this year, Home Birth Aotearoa’s key initiatives have had a distinct focus on unity and connection. This included the honouring and support of student midwives on International Day of the Midwife in May. And while midwives play a key role in New Zealand’s maternity care system, according to Home Birth Aotearoa, we each hold a vital role in terms of the birth culture of New Zealand: “Midwives are valuable, knowledgeable people, yet we cannot expect them to fulfil absolutely every need of a pregnant or birthing woman. As community and as whanau, we too should hold a sense of duty to our birthing women and to the newest members of our nation” says Ms Lazet. It would seem then, that as that community, and as whanau, indeed it’s our choice how we care for one another.

Home Birth Awareness Week 2011:

• Commences from Monday Oct 24 to Sunday Oct 30
• Includes the Home Birth Aotearoa biannual hui on Friday Oct 28
• Concludes with the biennial home birth national conference themed Today’s choices: Tomorrow’s parents

Check out for more information and to contact your local home birth support group. Also go to for information on the home birth national conference.


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