Marlborough needs more midwives

Region facing shortage of maternity carers

HEATHER SIMPSON
Last updated 13:45 05/05/2014
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DEREK FLYNN/FAIRFAX NZ
MIDWIFE SHORTAGE: Marlborough needs more midwives, says lead maternity carer Nicky Taylor, pictured with two babies she delivered last year, Amelie Molony, 9 months, left, and Michael Murphy, 8 months.

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Marlborough needs more midwives, a lead midwife carer says.

The region will lose four lead midwife carers this year due to retirements and transfers.

Lead maternity carers direct expectant mothers through their pregnancy, while the lead midwife takes charge during labour and guides clients through post-natal care.

Midwives of Marlborough lead maternity carer Nicky Taylor said the shortage of midwives was a problem across New Zealand.

She was speaking ahead of the International Day of the Midwife today whose overarching theme is "the world needs midwives now more than ever".

Taylor has delivered 70 babies in Marlborough since she took up the career more than two years ago and urged more people to take up the path.

The mother of three drove a milk truck before training to become a midwife. "I have been in the lactation business a long time," she laughed.

Taylor said she was encouraged to change career as she wanted to set a good example for her children and had always been interested in women and health.

She trained through the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology midwifery programme in 2012 as part of a drive to train more lead maternity carers for local areas.

"Marlborough is a fantastic place to train in. The midwife community is supportive and motivational. Women here are lucky to have such fantastic care.

"It is not a job you jump into half-hearted, it's a lifestyle choice and probably one of the most rewarding jobs. The relationships you develop with families is humbling and amazing. I love watching people become parents. I get to see true love develop. I get really excited, people make fun of me how excited I get. I still cry when a baby is born."

The law changed in 1990 and allowed direct entry to midwifery, rather than through nursing.

"We are at the forefront in New Zealand in terms of maternity. We have continuity of care where clients see predominantly the same practitioner through pregnancy and childbirth. In most other countries the client will see different midwives."

About 550 babies are born in Marlborough each year. Taylor said most mothers still chose to give birth in a maternity unit but trends have slowly moved towards births outside the hospital ward.

"Marlborough has a very low number of home births but it is picking up slowly. Women who choose to birth at home prefer less intervention. Drugs in your system can affect bonding with your baby and the breastfeeding experience. Water births are becoming more popular and we have a fantastic birthing pool at Wairau Hospital. Water births give women power over their birthing journey. It is all about the woman and her partner, the midwife is less hands-on."

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Taylor believes in giving each mother choices individual to them.

She is the only lead maternity carer in Marlborough to predominantly work from home. Her welcoming clinic is in contrast to the sterile hospital environment, and she believes it takes the stress away from pregnancy.

Taylor works with a client and their families through the pregnancy, labour and post-natal care. "Pregnant women aren't sick. Pregnancy is a normal life event and it should be treated like that. Mothers come to me and see me as a person and a mother. It helps develop trust."

- Marlborough

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