- Dr Lester LevyChair of Waitemata District Health Board.
Create a West Auckland Birth Centre.
The UK Birthplace Study is the latest international research to show that healthy, natural, satisfying birth is mostly likely to happen at home or in a free standing, midwife-led or primary unit (also called a birth centre). A comparison of this research with New Zealand birth outcomes confirms these findings are the same here. New understandings of how labour works explains why the ‘Place of Birth’ significantly influences outcomes by impacts on birth hormones. Waikato DHB; which has six primary birthing units and funds five privately owned and operated birthing units has acknowledged that; "Encouraging the option of primary birthing is important to the DHB and it is worth reflecting that the good outcome Waikato demonstrates against the 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."
Meanwhile, the nearest primary units for West Auckland families are at least half an hour (Birthcare in Parnell) to an hour (Helensville) drive away during low traffic times. The majority of ‘Westie’ women are being delivered in hospitals where interventions, such as caesarean section, have increased over the last decade. Recently the Waitemata District Health Board (WDHB) acknowledged that the priority for West Auckland is a purpose built maternity facility and to support more ‘normal’ birthing practices as part of their planning for the next four years. There are rumours of a new primary unit planned only for North Shore but the need is for many more, so such a facility is no further than 10 minutes drive from any family, where-ever they live!
In 2010, a group of women envisaged a unique, “state of the art” integrated, birth-parenting centre to best meet the needs of West Auckland families, consistent with government Health Policy principles of "Care close to home" and "Whanau Ora". As per the attached video, this facility would include;
- Physiologically appropriate birthing spaces,
- Family friendly post-natal rooms, with a communal areas,
- A drop-in centre for women, with breastfeeding supportive services,
- Consultation rooms for midwives, doctors and complementary therapy practitioners,
- A maternity-early parenting resource centre,
- Safe play areas for children – inside and out,
- Rooms for relevant community groups to meet and hold activities,
- Embellishments which honour birth and parenting,
- Support services (e.g. catering, home help) for local new families,
- Sustainable community gardens,
- An ecologically sustainable and wheel chair accessible facility.
This petition seeks the creation of at least one, integrated Birth-Parent Centre for West Auckland families, possibly as part of current Hobsonville-Westgate developments.
- Chair of Waitemata District Health Board.
Dr Lester Levy
Create a West Auckland purpose-built, integrated Birth-Parenting Centre.
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