Media release – October 18, 2006
NZ blessed with outstanding midwifery service – UK expert
New Zealand has one of the best midwifery services in the world, a UK obstetrics expert Jane Thomas said today.
Ms Thomas told the biennial New Zealand College of Midwives conference in Christchurch today that NZ should be proud of
what its midwifery service.
``Your midwives are doing a fantastic job and NZ rates as one of the best countries in the world in midwifery service
``Intervention rates are rising around the world but New Zealand women and mothers should feel confident with in having
natural births in this country.
``Almost one in three women in the United States are having Caesarean section births and 99 percent of women have
babies in hospital there.
``Women really need to think about the risks that can occur in Caesarean section intervention.’’
Ms Thomas is a clinical epidemiologist and a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist. She recently returned to
clinical practice in the Nation Health Service in the UK.
She is the key guest speaker at the three day conference with its theme: women and midwives, conscious guardians.
Societies in the western world had become too ``overly concerned’’ about risks of a normal birth and they had not
really put their minds to considering the risk involved in intervention, she told hundreds of delegates today.
She reiterated that women were in great hands in New Zealand which had a ``brilliant midwifery service’’.
``People I know here can not speak highly enough of NZ midwives. The natural birth fits in with the thing about New
Zealand being such a natural country.
``Intervention rates in New Zealand are low 20 percent like the UK but the US and Australia are much higher.’’
New Zealand midwives attend about 57,000 births a year and they see New Zealand women on more than 500,000 occasions
There are 2700 midwives practising in New Zealand providing a free, 24 hour, seven-day a week personal service to
pregnant women and their families.