Induced births rise in Southland
Southland Hospital had nearly twice the rate of induced births for first-time mums than the national average in 2010, a Health Ministry report says.
The latest maternity clinical indicators - which reports natural birth rates, caesareans and the use of interventions across district health boards - shows the rate of induced births at Southland Hospital was 8.2 per cent.
The national figure was 4.4 per cent.
Wellington was the only birthing facility with a higher rate at 9.8 per cent.
Women referred to within the statistics were aged between 20 and 34, had no record of any previous birth, gave birth to one baby, at term, and induced birth rates were expected to be at similar levels, the report says.
District health boards were encouraged to investigate rates that were significantly above the national average.
The induced birth rate across Southland was also high, at 5.8 per cent - the third highest of all district health boards, which included primary birthing facilities.
Neither a Southern District Health Board obstetrician nor health board executive director midwifery and nursing Leanne Samuel could be reached for comment yesterday.
Winton Maternity and Health Centre midwife Jo May said while the difference in rates might be significant, it was unclear what that pointed to.
The decision to induce was one that was made by the mother, the obstetrician and the midwife.
Often it was because of risks around mothers being overdue by more than 10 days, she said.
It could be useful to know if there was also a high rate of first-time mothers giving birth by caesarean, she said.
The report shows Southland Hospital has a caesarean rate of 16.3 per cent, lower than the 17.9 national average. One mother who contacted The Southland Times said she felt pressured into being induced five years ago and was still angry about it.
The experience was "so shattering," she lied about her due date for her second pregnancy.
Despite being 13 days overdue, she was not induced and the birth went smoothly, she said.
When asked for input from Southland mums who had been induced, women on Facebook shared reasons why the decision was made, which included risk of infection, a high level of discomfort, reduced foetal movements, and pre-eclampsia.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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