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Midwives Join Call For Better Postnatal Resourcing

Midwives agree that access to high quality care for 48 hours after birth is vital to the wellbeing of mothers and babies and should be an urgent priority for the health service.

The New Zealand College of Midwives totally understands the concerns raised by the Mothers Matter campaign launched today to highlight the importance of inpatient postnatal care while also calling for funding to improve resourcing in this area.

Karen Guilliland, chief executive of the College says: “Midwives know those first 48 hours and the following weeks are essential to maternal and infant health. The under resourcing of maternity services and under staffing of maternity hospitals over the last 10 years is reprehensible in a country that prides itself on its humane values.

“This situation has also been a constant source of distress and frustration for midwives trying to provide an ideal environment for new mothers and newborns.

“This is very much a resourcing issue. Midwives know the value of good postnatal care and it is a core aspect of the work they do but we must staff our maternity units adequately so midwives can provide this vital support. “

Ms Guilliland says that the concerns being raised by Mothers Matter, about women being transferred shortly after birth, should highlight the need to encourage more healthy, well women to give birth in primary units. These units, designed for normal birth rather than acute care, provide calm, home-like environments for mothers and babies.

“These are ideal conditions in which to establish breast-feeding. Women who give birth in primary units do not have to transfer elsewhere.

“Our tertiary maternity units – those within big general hospitals – are being stretched beyond capacity,” says Ms Guilliland, “partly because healthy women are not being encouraged to birth at primary units. We need to rethink our strategies in this area for best use of our resources and to provide the best care for mothers and babies.”

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