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College Of Midwives Says “Follow The Data, Invest In Midwives” 5 May – International Day Of The Midwife

Fewer interventions in labour, reduced maternal and neonatal morbidity (illness, injury), improved psycho-social outcomes and increased contraceptive use; these are just some of the documented positive outcomes of a midwifery-led maternity service.

These facts are supported by research which is part of the theme for this year’s International Day of the Midwife (May 5th) – follow the data, invest in midwives.

College of Midwives Chief Executive, Alison Eddy, says investing in midwives is not only about pay.

“It’s about progressing the mahi being undertaken around developing and implementing a new funding model for community-based midwives; it’s also about recognising and understanding the work midwives do and how essential they are, and it’s about appropriately resourcing the sector so midwives can do the job they are highly trained to do,” she says.

Aotearoa New Zealand’s midwifery-led maternity model is acknowledged around the world as being the very best.

The dedicated work of core midwives in hospitals and primary maternity facilities is key to the success of the New Zealand model of maternity care. Employed midwives who have specific expertise in complex pregnancy, labour and birth, and early postnatal care, support women in maternity facilities and in community teams.

The College acknowledges the work being done by the midwives’ union MERAS, as getting the best employment conditions for midwives will support them to provide optimal care to women and babies. “There are significant recruitment and retention issues for the midwifery workforce across Aotearoa. Addressing these through better remuneration and working conditions for both hospital and community-based midwives is of paramount importance” adds Eddy.

“Our continuity-of-care model leads the world,” she says. “Seeing the same midwife through your pregnancy, labour and six weeks after a baby is born, is a key part of why New Zealand outcomes are so good. However, we need an appropriately resourced midwifery-led service to be able to deliver the best outcomes,” says Ms Eddy.

UK research published late last month¹ looking at the continuity-of-care model has found, “Community-based continuity models of care may reduce stress and anxiety through familiar, less-medicalized environments that are easier to access, and enhance the strengths of community and peer support.”

“We are midwives together, working in the community and in DHBs, with women and babies at the centre of what we do. Using data, research and lived experience, let’s all work together to strengthen the midwifery-led maternity service, supporting women and their whānau on their life-changing journey,” she says.

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