4 May 2012:
The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) celebrates International Day of the Midwife tomorrow (5 May).
NZNO is proud to represent over 700 New Zealand midwives who support thousands of women every year through pregnancy and birth. The organisation advocates for all women to have access to midwifery services when and where they are needed. The theme for International Midwives Day is ‘the world needs midwives now more than ever’.
The care midwives provide through education and skilled support to pregnant women, through antenatal care, labour and into the early postnatal period is critical for healthy mothers and babies.
“Access to midwifery services is essential. Timely access to midwifery care is so important. Early engagement with a midwife with ongoing care through pregnancy protects and promotes positive outcomes for mothers, babies and families,” NZNO Professional Services Manager, Susanne Trim says.
“Maternity services in public hospitals provide a back-up for community lead maternity care providers and these services are under threat in some provincial areas. Recruitment of suitably qualified clinicians may be an issue however every effort should be made to retain these maternity services before looking at regionalisation options.”
“The prospect of women travelling long distances for care, relocating weeks ahead of their delivery date, separating from family and support people and not knowing whether their midwife will be available in a different city creates significant stress and is a barrier to access,” says Susanne Trim.
Over 340,000 women worldwide die each year, with millions more suffering infection and disability, as a result of preventable maternal causes, with 90 percent of those deaths occurring in developing countries. NZNO is working to reduce maternal and infant mortality in New Zealand by advocating for equitable access to a midwife for all pregnant women.