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Defending women’s rights to postnatal care


3 May 2019: Birthing Centre is celebrating the crucial role of midwives in the community as defenders of women’s rights - the theme of this year’s International Day of the Midwife on 5 May.

CEO Chloe Wright says this year’s theme is indicative of the importance of the profession.

“Midwives uphold and protect the rights of New Zealand women every day, including the right of every woman to choose the place where she gives birth, whether this is in a hospital, primary maternity centre or community birthing facility, and her legal right to receive 48 hours of postnatal care.

“Unfortunately, many women in New Zealand do not realise they are entitled to this care and return home with their babies without having an opportunity to bond with them in a nurturing environment, supported by educated and competent midwives.

“Mothers need time to bond and attach with their babies and to go home feeling rested and confident. Research supports this as being the foundation of a child’s development.”

Birthing Centre is a social enterprise that operates Bethlehem Birthing Centre in Tauranga, Te Papaioea Birthing Centre in Palmerston North, Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre, servicing the Wellington region, and Ngā Hau Māngere Birthing Centre in South Auckland, which opens on 6 May. The primary birthing centres are for women whose pregnancy is considered low-risk primary care.

In response to a national shortage of Lead Maternity Carers (LMCs), Birthing Centre also offers a free LMC midwifery service for healthy pregnant women who are unable to find a midwife to provide their primary care.

“Our centres could not provide this service without the continued support we receive from LMCs. Community-led midwives provide a great service to mothers and families in New Zealand and a high level of care,” says Chloe.

Midwives – both LMCs and staff midwives – play a crucial role in the service provided at Birthing Centre.

“The staff midwives working in our centres fulfil a crucial role in supporting women, both during their birth, and in the days immediately afterwards as they get to grips with motherhood.

“Our midwives do everything from supporting women to breastfeed, to teaching them babycare skills and guiding fathers and partners in their crucial role of support.”

Chloe says International Day of the Midwife is an opportunity to pause, reflect and say thank you to midwives for their work.

“At Birthing Centre we are committed to advocating for midwifery recognition and support the midwifery-led care system in New Zealand.

“We also support midwives in their role as defenders of women’s rights.”

International Day of the Midwife was established by the International Confederation of Midwives to highlight the important role midwives play in the health of mothers, children and their families.


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