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International Maternity Expert Praises New Zealand Care

International Maternity Expert Praises New Zealand Care

New Zealand has a “stunning” maternity care system according to a visiting international expert in childbirth and midwifery.

Professor Lesley Page, president of the Royal College of Midwives in the United Kingdom, told midwives meeting in Hamilton over the weekend that New Zealand has a world-leading system of maternity care.

“I have been so inspired by what I have seen,” said Professor Page. “What you are doing here is absolutely stunning.”

Pregnant women in New Zealand receive one-to-one care from a lead maternity carer, usually a midwife, throughout pregnancy, labour and birth and for up to six weeks after their babies are born.

Professor Page says that New Zealand is probably the only country in the world where continuity of care – which has been shown to have many benefits for mothers and babies – is so well embedded in the maternity and health services.

“You are an example to the rest of the world. Many of us aspire to continuity of care but few of us achieve it. Don’t take for granted what you’ve got. It is very precious,” she told the midwives at the weekend.

Midwives are specialists in normal birth and Professor Page says new research is indicating there are lifetime health benefits for babies born normally with low levels of medical intervention, rather than by caesarean section.

“The simplest thing we can do is give every woman a midwife she knows,” she says.

Professor Page observed midwives working in the community as part of her trip to New Zealand to speak at the biennial New Zealand College of Midwives conference in Hamilton. The event was attended by 1000 midwives from throughout New Zealand.

ends

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