14 Nov 2023

The impact of birth centre closures on mums-to-be

From Nine To Noon, 9:05 am on 14 November 2023

As the number of birthing centres around the country declines, there are concerns limited choices are pushing women into birthing interventions they don't want or need.

Birthcare in Huntly announced last month it would be closing down after 30 years, St George's Hospital maternity services in Christchurch shut in June, and Waihi Birthing Centre is being turned into an aged care facility.

Meanwhile Nga Hau Birthing Centre in Mangere is fighting to keep its doors open amid funding issues.

So what happens to mums-to-be if their local centre is no longer an option?

Kathryn speaks to Brenda Hinton, a liaison coordinator with the Maternity Services Consumer Council who's been keeping across the closures and Nicky Pealing, a midwife who's long operated in the Southland region and is concerned about what's happening in the area.

Ōpōtiki birthing centre closed at short notice

Ōpōtiki birthing centre closed at short notice Photo: RNZ / YouTube