In The Best Country to Give Birth? medical historian Linda Bryder explores how New Zealand came to develop its unique approach to the role of midwives in childbirth.
The 1990 Nurses Amendment Act allowed midwives to practise autonomously in the community without oversight by, or reference to, other health professionals and to set up training schemes separate from nursing.
The College of Midwives celebrated this freedom as a win for women, but others expressed concerns about the unpreparedness of newly trained midwives to deal with emergencies.
Linda Bryder is a Professor of History at Auckland University, a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand Te Apārangi, and is currently President of the Australian and New Zealand Society of the History of Medicine.