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Positive Outcomes in Maternity Report

The latest Report on Maternity has been released by the Ministry of Health and the work of midwives continues to contribute to improving outcomes for New Zealand women and their babies.

The report says that the vast majority of women giving birth were registered with, and received care from, a Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) during their pregnancy and postnatal period. A midwife was the LMC with whom most women registered.

Additionally, fewer women are smoking during the initial stage of pregnancy and immediately after birth. In 2017, there were two thousand fewer women smoking when they first registered with a primary maternity care provider than there were in 2008.

Chief Executive of the New Zealand College of Midwives, Alison Eddy, says it is very positive to see these results and is good news for women and babies.

“More than two-thirds of women who registered with an LMC, did so within their first trimester of pregnancy in 2017; a statistically significant increase from 2008, when only half of women registered within the first trimester,” she says.

It’s concerning, says Ms Eddy, that there is an increasing proportion of pregnant women who are in overweight or obese categories.

“Being overweight or obese during pregnancy increases the possibility of complications for the mother and her baby. These risks can be minimised with additional care, monitoring, advice and support from midwives. However, this also makes the role of midwives more demanding,” says Eddy.

She adds that we all need to take care not to blame or stigmatise women for what is essentially a wider societal issue for New Zealanders in general.

“To support women at such an important part time in their and their baby’s lives while ensuring they manage their weight appropriately during pregnancy, takes careful discussions and personalised advice from their midwife.”

Alison Eddy says this also places greater demands on midwives, requiring additional one on one work with women related to smoking cessation, mental health and obesity (to name a few).

“There remains an urgency, to ensure midwives are resourced effectively, enabling them to continue to deliver the best outcomes for women and their babies,” says Ms Eddy.

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