Midwife goes silent on big baby

The Waikato midwife believed to be involved in the delivery of a 7kg baby touted as a New Zealand record has gone to ground following what appears to be a potential breach of privacy.

Born by caesarean last Sunday, the Hamilton infant was said to weigh a whopping 6.85kg (15lb 1oz), double the weight of the average Kiwi newborn, and closer to the average weight of a four-month-old.

The mother's midwife, Wendy Fache, said on her Facebook page it was a likely New Zealand record: "[Name withheld] was also welcomed into the world last night [November 23] weighing in at 15lb 1oz. Has to be a NZ record."

Fache, based in Hamilton East, has since deleted the post and declined to comment for this story, owing to "confidentially". The baby's mother also declined to comment.

The baby was said to be at home with his family.

Waikato District Health Board communications director Mary Anne Gill said the hospital did not have consent to comment on the baby, or confirm or deny its birth.

She did say in the case of a tertiary birth, such as a caesarean, the lead maternity carer would hand responsibility to the DHB (the hospital).

The lead maternity carer would then take back responsibility after the birth, and would be in touch with the mother for the next six weeks or so.

If, hypothetically speaking, a DHB staff member posted a Facebook status detailing the first name and weight of a patient's baby, that would be "frowned upon" by the DHB, Gill said.

"That would not be okay behaviour from a DHB staff member, we would frown very much on that."

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Social media guidelines published on the DHB website state nurses [or midwives] can unintentionally breach patient confidentiality and privacy if they assume that the communication or post is private and accessible only by the intended recipient.

"The nurse may fail to recognise that content once posted or sent can be disseminated to others."

The Midwifery Council said all midwives have a code of ethics, and like all health professionals are guided by the health information privacy code and Privacy Act itself.

The New Zealand College of Midwives Code of Ethics states confidential information should be shared with others only with the informed consent of the woman, unless otherwise permitted or required by law.


The Ministry of Health Report on Maternity 2010 showed the average birthweight in New Zealand was 3.42kg, with female babies weighing less on average (3.37kg) than males babies (3.47kg). Any newborn baby weighing more than 4kg is considered heavy.

The baby holding the record for birth weight in New Zealand was previously believed to be a 6.63kg girl named Angelani, born to Tongan parents in 2005.

According to the Guinness Book of Records the heaviest newborn ever was to Canadian woman Anna Bates in 1879. The boy weighed more than 10kg at birth but died a short time later. 

 - © Fairfax NZ News

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