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Rural midwives gather to discuss issues and share information

Southern Waikato Midwifery Collaborative September 2015

Photo: Hilary Morrish-Allen from St John presents to the group of midwives, top right: Shirley Hopping with the Breastfed app poster and Alys Brown with the Mama Aroha cards. 

Midwives and lead maternity carers (LMCs) who practice rurally across the southern Waikato area came together this week for the inaugural Southern Waikato Midwifery Collaborative.

Shirley Hopping, charge midwife manager for the South Waikato and King Country area, said having a closer to home collaboration forum allows increased opportunity for midwives who practice in the area to attend.

“The topics and presentations can be focused on the rural and remote rural issues. It is an opportunity for midwives to meet and share ideas and resources,” she said.

The group were pleased to welcome Hilary Morrish-Allen, central region territory manager from St John Ambulance, who demonstrated their new electronic clinical record which replaces handwritten notes and will be shared directly with the birthing facility / Waikato Hospital Delivery Suite, GP and LMC/midwife. Not only does it improve communication and information about individual patients it will allow St John and maternity services to look at anonymised  data on transfers from home/primary birthing facilities to Waikato Hospital Delivery Suite each quarter across the whole maternity sector, enabling better quality and safety discussions about transfer rates.

Mike Webb and Joanne Francis from Waikato DHB Change Team gave an overview of the new maternity clinical information system which will be implemented across Waikato maternity services next year replacing the current maternity clinical system and some paper records. The team answered questions and queries from a rural perspective.

Ruth Galvin, Maternity Quality and Safety project manager talked about the recently published Waikato Maternity Annual Report and presented and the top 10 clinical areas of focus for improvement.  The group discussed the use of the healthy weight gain in pregnancy guideline in practice, looking at the rates of women with a BMI over 35 in Waikato. Optimal weight gain during pregnancy is associated with improved outcomes for both the mother and the baby regardless of the mother’s existing weight.  An estimated one third of women of normal weight and 60 per cent of obese women gain more weight than recommended during pregnancy. Midwives from Te Kuiti presented how they raise the issue of healthy weight gain during pregnancy with women and how they use the record card and chart with women in their care.

The Midland Maternity Action Group Breastfeeding App BreastfedNZ was launched at the collaborative. The idea of having a breastfeeding app initially came from women in rural and isolated areas who do not have easy access to a health professional and wanted to access breastfeeding advice and information.

The app is free and available via www.breastfednz.co.nz 

Suzanne Andrew from Midland Maternity Action Group described the topics the app covered including pregnancy and birth, the first few days, early weeks. The app is providing a hit so far and has had over 900 downloads.

Continuing the theme of breastfeeding, the meeting moved to the Mama Aroha Breastfeeding Talk Cards developed by Amy Wray which have recently been updated. The cards have been developed for health professionals to use while talking to women about breastfeeding. Alys Brown from Te Puna Oranga (Waikato DHB Maori health team) pointed out what was new and recapped on how to use them in practice. The new Mama Aroha Breastfeeding cards will be available in all birthing facilities.

Corli Roodt, Waikato DHB clinical midwifery director said the day was well received by the attendees and feedback suggested they would welcome similar forums in the future.

“Our rural midwives mostly have to access education in Hamilton, so we wanted to take this professional activity closer to their area of practice.”



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