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International Day of the Midwife, Monday 5 May

Media release
April 2014
Next Monday is International Day of the Midwife, celebrating the work of midwives throughout the world. We attach a media release and background information on maternity care and midwifery in New Zealand.

Midwives – not just for mums

Good maternity care has far reaching effects for families, communities and even the wider economy. Midwives around the world will be celebrating International Day of the Midwife on 5 May with the theme “Midwives: changing the world one family at a time”.

New Zealand midwives will be joining the celebrations with events throughout the country, inviting colleagues and supporters to join them in recognising the far-reaching value of good maternity care.

International Day of the Midwife is organised by the International Confederation of Midwives. This year’s theme reflects the Confederation’s view that the care provided for mothers and babies by midwives ensures that women are healthy, thus contributing to strong communities and economies.

Worldwide, approximately 290,000 women (1) die each year as a result of pregnancy and childbirth complications and 3 million infants (2) die within the first month of life. If every childbearing woman received care from a well educated, adequately resourced midwife, most maternal and newborn deaths could be prevented, says the Confederation.

Karen Guilliland, Chief Executive of the New Zealand College of Midwives says that New Zealand has a well developed maternity system and a highly educated and skilled midwifery workforce. This contributes hugely to our low levels of infant and maternal mortality. But midwives still play a vital part in supporting New Zealand families through the care they provide during pregnancy, birth and for up to six weeks after a baby is born.

“New Zealand’s model of care, which is led by midwives who provide continuity of care before, during and after birth supports not just the mother but also her family.

“Our high standard of living and a great maternity care system ensure that outcomes for mothers and babies in New Zealand are extremely good. But we should not be complacent. We know that too many women are not living in safe or healthy circumstances and midwives are often in a position to intervene with the help of other appropriate professionals.

“In New Zealand too midwives can help to change the world one family at a time.”


(1) WHO, Maternal Mortality, Fact sheet No348, May 2012

(2) Save the Children, State of the World’s Mothers Report, 2013


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