7 October 2019: Mothers Matter is backing the petition launched today by Louise Upston MP that calls for all new mums to receive three days of fully funded postnatal care.

The petition acknowledges that most mothers are not made aware that they are entitled to 48 hours postnatal care, and most mothers don’t use their voices to demand what is legally their right.

Founder of Mothers Matter Chloe Wright says, “Mothers are physically and emotionally vulnerable after giving birth, they may not feel able to demand their right to care. Too many mothers are being pressured to go home without the proper care that’s needed.

“This denies the chance for mothers and babies to bond during the critical ‘window of opportunity’ – the first 48 hours after birth. If this window of bonding and healing is denied, whanau and the nation will pay a heavy price. It is critical to ensuring mother and baby have a great start in life, to their wellbeing and the wider health and safety of whanau.”

Currently maternal suicide rates in New Zealand are seven times higher per capita than in the United Kingdom, with Maori overrepresented. The maternity crisis across New Zealand is being well documented, but nothing is being done to solve it.

Chloe Wright is also Director of Birthing Centre, which has built four centres – Tauranga, Palmerston North, Lower Hutt and Mangere – within the last five years. The centres were built to show how excellent maternity, postnatal and wraparound services can be achieved, and to provide equity of services across New Zealand. However, the centres in Lower Hutt and Mangere are currently unsupported by the local DHBs, while Tauranga supports births with postnatal stay and some women who are unable to experience primary birth, and Palmerston North supports only women who can primary birth.

“The DHBs are dictating to mothers about where they can receive postnatal care, and whether they even receive any. We can solve this by the establishment of a ringfenced fund that allows mothers to choose where they receive care,” says Chloe.

“This would instantly solve the pressure on hospital maternity wards with mothers choosing the primary birthing centres that are not currently utilised, leaving the hospital to care for those mothers who need medical assistance.

“We are urging everyone to sign the 3-day-stay petition that calls for three days of postnatal care fully funded by DHBs. It’s the very least we can do for the future of our country and generations to come.”

Mothers Matter was founded last year to put pressure on the Ministry of Health and DHBs to address the maternity crisis. The movement has the backing of child development experts such as neuroscientist Nathan Wallis and Dame Lesley Max (www.mothersmatter.nz(external link)).

Mothers Matter's Chloe Wright and Dame Lesley Max yesterday making a stand with the community of Mangere for mothers and their access to the local Nga Hau Mangere Birthing Centre. Joined by Louise Upston MP who yesterday launched a petition to secure 3-day postnatal stays for mothers, as well as ringfenced maternity funding so that mothers have the right to choose where they birth and receive postnatal care.