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Parent's Centre Says Christmas: it's about birth

Christmas: it's about birth

A manger in a stable still the best option for many rural births. 24/12/03

"Many rural women are still unable to access appropiate birthing facilities" said Parents Centre Chief Executive Viv Gurrey. "Giving birth in a stable may still be the best option for women living outside the main centres."

"The story behind Christmas, of Mary giving birth in a stable, may not be so far-fetched for many rural women today," said Mrs Gurrey "At least a women would be able to stay within range of her home and family, and would not have to transfer to another facility immediately after the birth."

"State of the art birthing facilities and back-up support often remains the preserve of city women while their country cousins are left having to fight to keep maternity hospitals open and support networks running" Mrs Gurrey said.

"While Parents Centre supports active birthing practices which follow the instinctive rhythm of a natural labour, it remains important that women are able to access appropiate medical help when it is necessary."

"Mary was fortune in that the birth of Jesus must have been relatively uncomplicated. We can safely assume that no intervention was necessary. In fact, Mary was able to give birth without even a midwife. Some accounts of the story even suggest she remained in the stable for a few days following the birth."

"For modern day New Zealand women the closure of maternity suites and postal natal care facilities around the country means that many women are having to transfer to other centres or units straight after the birth."

"There is still no room at the proverbial inn for many New Zealand women as closures and threatened closures of maternity suites continue around the country. The Government attempt to rationalise health spending without factoring the cost to local communities, is utterly misguided," said Mrs Gurrey.

"Birth is still a great equaliser, but the quality of birthing facilities can add or distract from the value of the experience and make a mockery of any notion of equality for pregnant women and new parents."

Parents Centre urges the Government to prioritise maternity spending and post-natal care facilities which enable both parent to establish a healthy bond with each other and their new baby.

"Rural women have as much right to adequate maternity and post natal care facilities as city women," Mrs Gurrey added.

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