3 May 2013:
The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) celebrates International Day of the Midwife on Sunday 5 May.
NZNO is proud to represent over 650 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. New Zealand has a unique model of maternity care that has the partnership between the woman and her midwife at its centre.
NZNO professional nursing adviser, Kate Weston says “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.”
“Many rural and provincial maternity services are being regionalised. The prospect of women travelling long distances for care, relocating weeks ahead of their baby's due 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 Weston.
“Women need to be able to access services close to their own home. NZNO continues to work with other groups in the sector to promote safe staffing levels and to promote timely access to high quality services.”
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.