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What is Mothers Matter?

Mothers Matter is a collaboration of committed individuals, health professionals and parents who are united in a common goal to have a nationwide discussion about the need for excellent perinatal care.

Equity of care is what’s needed: mothers should have the right to choose where they receive their birthing and postnatal care. Only Government can legislate to provide this basic right through a ring-fenced fund from the Ministry of Health.

Mothers already have a right to at least 48 hours of postnatal care, but are often not receiving it because of overloaded hospital maternity units. We need this legal right to be recognised and publicised by Government. This must include wraparound services that address the mental and physical health needs of mothers, their babies and whānau.

Women’s rights must be widely publicised and advocates made available to help women navigate the pathways to recognising the support and services they need to protect and determine their own health and wellbeing.

What are we calling for?

What we are calling for:
Equitable perinatal care across New Zealand via a targeted ring-fenced fund that is determined by the mother’s choice about the care she needs and receives. This should include the necessary wraparound services to meet her medical and wellbeing needs.
The background
Perinatal care funding should follow the mother’s needs and choice of care.
This means providing for funded obstetrician-gynaecological health checks, pre-birth and post-birth, with wraparound services to meet her needs and those of her whānau. High obstetric risk women should be directed to appropriate facilities.

 

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WHO WE ARE

CHLOE WRIGHT

Founder

Chloe Wright is the founder and architect of Mothers Matter, which seeks to achieve for women what is rightfully theirs: excellent perinatal care, 48 hours postnatal care and the ongoing support they need to thrive after giving birth. 

Chloe is also CEO and Co-founder of the Wright Family Foundation. The Foundation assists organisations across the country to enable people to reach their full potential through education and health initiatives.

The 48 hours after birth are a precious window of opportunity for mothers, their babies and whanau. It is a time of critical bonding and can be determinate of future wellbeing. It is with energy that we need to unite to solve the escalating crisis relating to maternity and postnatal care for mothers and babies across the country.

We must put the mother back into the centre of care. Our current maternal suicide rate is seven times that of the UK per capita and Maori women are over-represented. If we look after mothers, their babies and families also thrive, paying dividends for future generations.

Mothers are currently funded for, need and have a right to at least 48 hours of postnatal care for a non-intervention birth. However, many women feel pressured to leave hospital hours after giving birth. Justice needs to be done before more harm is done. We support Louise Upston MP’s private members bill to take this a step further and bring in legislation for a minimum three-day-stay postnatally.

Dame Lesley Max

Co-Founder Great Potentials Foundation

"To develop great children who can reach their full potential we need to have confident parents. The first 48 hours following the delivery of a baby can be particularly hard, when it should be the most exciting time as the journey into parenthood begins. The specialist care, support and parenting tools that are provided in supportive environments during this postnatal period encourage mothers and fathers to become parents who can confidently nurture their baby."

NATHAN WALLIS

Neuroscience Educator

"The first 48 hours of a child’s life are of supreme importance – this is the time that we as parents set the foundations for their emotional wellbeing. The love we give, the interaction we have, the unique attachment we form and the stability we provide our children in the postnatal period play a critical role in defining later outcomes for our children and for our future."

Dr Anil Sharma

Specialist Obstetrician and Gynaecologist

Regardless of the type of birth, all women have the right to receive the clinically and psychologically appropriate amount of time in postnatal care at the primary maternity facility of their choice.

The postnatal period, especially the first 48 hours, are critical to the health and wellbeing of not only the mother, but also her baby and family.

Monitoring the health of a new mum and her baby and responding to any changes, needs or complications that may arise, is also vitally important.

All New Zealand women are entitled to 48 hours of funded in-patient care.

TRACY O'SULLIVAN

Founder iMoko

"Our children are our future, and parents as first teachers are critical in ensuring our children are given the best start in life. The first 48 hours after the birth of the baby, the postnatal period, is a time to inspire, support and offer manaaki whanau to the tamariki and matua who need it most. Those 48 hours are precious and we need to make sure parents understand why they are so valuable and what level of care they are entitled to, regardless of where they live in New Zealand."

MY STORY - ELLEN CHISHOLM

I started contracting at midnight on a Friday night and gave birth at 2.27am on Sunday morning. I was in labour for 27 hours, had not slept for 48 hours, so by the time I had my baby I was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted.

My birth was hard, as they all are of course, but after labouring for around 17 hours, nothing had changed (I remained 4cm dilated). The maternity team realised my son's head was stuck and I had...


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WHY POSTNATAL CARE MATTERS

Giving birth is a profound physiological, mental and emotional experience.

Giving birth and the first 48 hours can be particularly hard, when it should be the most exciting time as the journey of parenthood begins.

If we’re serious about making intergenerational change in maternity care in our country, we must start at the beginning and look after our mothers. The scientific research into the first 1000 days of a child’s life and its impact on the rest of their life is irrefutable.

This means we must restore equitable maternity and postnatal care to all women, but particularly those at-risk, where Māori are overrepresented. Poor maternal mental health doesn’t discriminate – it crosses socio-economic, cultural and ethnic boundaries.

Equitable maternity and postnatal care will lead to parents having a better capability to raise secure, resilient, and adaptable children.

This must be achieved by Government legislation that establishes a ring-fenced fund which gives a mother choice about where she receives her care. This should include the necessary wraparound services to meet her medical and wellbeing needs.

Equity of maternity and postnatal care across New Zealand is critical to curbing the country’s stark and shameful statistics: a maternal suicide rate that is five times higher per capita than the UK (PMMRC Annual Report 2019), and one of the worst postnatal depression, family abuse and child homicide records in the world.

Mothers already have a legal right to at least 48 hours of postnatal care but are often not receiving it because of overloaded maternity units. They are often leaving hospital exhausted, without having recovered or receiving the necessary support for their health needs. Science shows it’s the most vulnerable time for mother and baby.

This time known as the ‘window of opportunity’ after birth allows bonds to form between mothers, babies and whānau that is critical to their lifelong health – mental and physical.

Supporting mothers today is foundational to our nation’s social and economic success and will pay dividends in the future of our society.

Well mother – well child – healthy nation.