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Hanging baby?North & South defends controversial cover image

13 July 2011

Hanging baby? North & South defends controversial cover image

North & South editor Virginia Larson has questioned the extreme response from the College of Midwives to the magazine's August cover image on midwives and maternity care.

The story by senior writer Donna Chisholm investigates the myth of “natural childbirth” and asks who’s at fault when births go bad. It is illustrated on the magazine’s cover with a stylised image that depicts a baby being held upside-down.

The College of Midwives’ press release describes the image as “sending dangerous messages” and even goes so far as to link the image to New Zealand’s child abuse figures.

However Virginia Larson says the college is over-reacting to what is clearly a mocked-up “concept cover” – not a real-life photo-shoot nor an image derived from a photojournalism series – while side-stepping the important issues the article raises.

“The college’s statement attacks the image but makes no reference to the content of Donna Chisholm’s cover story, which investigates the impact of the changes to maternity care in New Zealand in the 1990s,” she says.

“The 12-page article is one of the most thorough investigations into the state of New Zealand maternity care in recent times and raises serious issues about the state of our country’s maternity care that deserve discussion.

“For the College of Midwives to issue a press release about an obviously mocked-up cover image seems to be side-stepping the debate.”

Not solely focused on the midwifery sector, the piece canvasses a wide range of expert opinions, documentation and case histories.

It includes comments not only from the College of Midwives chief executive Karen Guililand, but also Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Committee chair Professor Cindy Farquhar, the Prime Minister’s chief scientific adviser Sir Peter Gluckman and former GP obstetrician Dr Lynda Exton, among others.

ENDS

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