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Francesca - you've reminded us how to do it

Congratulations Francesca - you've reminded us how to do it.

Parents Centre joins many others in congratulating Francesca Kairau on the birth of her baby daughter - in a Wellington tunnel.

While her unusual choice of birth place has grabbed the attention of the media it comes as no surprise to many Parents Centre members.

"Our society is slipping into the notion that babies cannot be born without doctors in attendance and an extensive menu of drugs" says Sue Fitzmaurice, Chief Executive of Parents Centre. "We should remember that babies were being born long before anyone had invented doctors, hospitals and pethidine."

"While we value the skill and expertise of obstetricians let's remember that they have been trained to intervene, which is likely to be their instinctive reaction to a birth that is not proceeding by the book. Parents Centre asks that the medical profession uses Francesca's unusual birth as a reminder that they are there for when things go wrong, and that whenever possible they should simply celebrate the magic of a very natural process."

The World Health Organisation estimates that only 10-15% of births in developing nations need any intervention, and that figure must be lower in New Zealand where the population enjoys better health and a higher level of sanitation.

"While the medical profession plays a life saving role in cases where there are problems, the vast majority of births can proceed with the assistance of a midwife, who is a highly trained professional" says Ms Fitzmaurice.

"The best way to accommodate the arrival of babies in unexpected places is to ensure that parents are fully prepared for the birth."

"Parents Centre antenatal courses and support networks make the process of birth easier for both the parents and the doctors. It is acknowledged that the more informed, prepared and relaxed a women is during labour the less complicated the birth is likely to be.

"The rate of birth intervention in New Zealand is rising. Interventions range from giving drugs to induce a labour, through to assisting the baby through the birth cannel with forceps or a vacuum to a caesarean, which is major abdominal surgery and takes many days and often weeks to recover from.

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