Two thirds of all Waikato women are registering with a lead maternity carer within the first 12 weeks of their pregnancy, a just-published Waikato District Health Board Maternity Annual Report shows.
That means they are able to access important tests and services earlier to keep themselves and their babies healthy.
Other women are leaving it too late in their pregnancy and miss early screening and advice of a health care professional, says Waikato DHB clinical midwife director Corli Roodt.
Waikato DHB produced the Maternity Annual Report as part of a focus on Maternity Quality and Safety and outlines improvement initiatives, interventions and projects put in place over the last 12 months.
The DHB has a geographically extensive and complex maternity service, with one secondary / tertiary maternity service, six DHB operated and five non-government organisations primary birthing facilities with approximately 180 lead maternity carers providing midwifery care.
Waikato has the highest number of births outside of secondary care hospital services in New Zealand reflective of the geographical spread of the population and availability of primary birthing services.
Encouraging the option of primary birthing is important to the DHB. “It is worth reflecting that the good outcomes Waikato demonstrate against national clinical indicators for normal births and low caesarean section rates are a result of low risk women being able to birth in environments suited to their needs within their own communities.
“For women with higher needs we have Waikato Hospital which looks after women with complications and in need of medical interventions,” said Mrs Roodt.
The report shows that over the last year a lot of effort has gone into reducing maternal smoking rates. “The national Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review committee outlined smoking during pregnancy as a key cause of mortality and morbidity to women and infants.
Waikato has a high rate of maternal smoking and less than two per cent of women who smoke when they register with their midwife quit smoking during pregnancy.
Waikato is working hard to improve interventions to help and support women to stop smoking during pregnancy,” she said.
The loss of an infant to sudden unexplained infant death is devastating for the parents and family and part of Waikato’s work involves striving to reduce its incidence of Sudden Unexplained Infant Deaths (SUDI) rates.
It is now compulsory for all maternity staff to have training to promote “in every place, for every sleep, check that baby is safe” with the messages: face up (baby on their back) face clear smokefree breastfed and close to parent handle gently.
Waikato DHB’s Maori Health service Te Puna Oranga has a pepi-pod programme in place across the Midland region.
Recent statistics show a reduction in infant deaths in the Waikato. “There continues to be many challenges ahead in the care of pregnant women but we are confident that with the commitment of the passionate members of our maternity services and our partners in the community, we will continue to provide a safe quality services for our women and babies,” said Mrs Roodt.
To read the report, go to www.waikatodhb.health.nz/women
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