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Births no safer for Kiwi mothers and babies

Births no safer for Kiwi mothers and babies

The latest Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Committee (PMMRC) report released yesterday shows New Zealand mothers continue to die in childbirth, with no let-up in the figures since the PMMRC starting analysing data seven years ago.

Consumer support network AIM: Action to Improve Maternity says this should be setting off alarm bells for all New Zealanders.

Founder and Spokesperson Jenn Hooper says unlike every other developed country, the rate of maternal deaths in New Zealand is not improving year by year.

“In 2011, eight mothers died during childbirth. Between 2006 and 2011, 35 per cent of those deaths were identified as being potentially avoidable. Even more frightening – in more than half of these deaths, human factors played a part.”

The PMMRC report also records 665 perinatal (baby) deaths in 2011 – nearly two babies every day. This has also not changed significantly since 2007 using the New Zealand definition.

Ms Hooper says the large number of babies born with serious brain injury is also concerning – 149 babies during 2010 and 2011.

“Inadequate resuscitation is listed as the cause for brain injury in 15 per cent of these babies. With ACC recently putting the cost for each baby injured by birth-related brain treatment injury at $54 million per child, these figures alone are reason for the government and New Zealand’s birthing professionals to take a long hard look at ways to make improvements.

“Too many New Zealand families live with the consequences of a maternity system left to its own devices. The human cost represented by these stark figures is incalculable.”

AIM is a Registered Charitable Trust comprised of over 650 families plus a large and supportive network of other concerned stakeholders who believe that the current NZ maternity system needs improvement. We also have an active Facebook presence. More information is on the website www.aim.org.nz

ENDS

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