A new birthing unit is to open in Christchurch for women with no pregnancy complications.
Once the unit opens next to Christchurch Hospital in 2023, between 1000 and 2400 women are expected to give birth there every year.
The unit will have four birthing rooms, 20 post-natal rooms, a whānau room, an education room and six assessment rooms, under plans approved by the Canterbury District Health Board and minister of health.
The DHB's midwifery and maternity services executive director, Norma Campbell, said healthy women who gave birth at the centre would be able to stay for a day or two afterwards, supported by whānau.
"Māmā who birth in a primary unit, supported by a lead maternity carer (LMC), are more likely to have a normal birth," she said.
"The units provide a more calming space than a tertiary hospital and the risks of complications are greatly reduced."
Campbell said the unit was close to Christchurch Women's Hospital, so patients could be transferred quickly if required.
The unit will be staffed by Canterbury DHB midwives, alongside LMCs, and offer a culturally appropriate service.
"For Māori, local midwife-led care in a setting where whānau support is easily accommodated is a cultural expectation, so this new unit also presents an opportunity to improve the equity of our maternity care," Campbell said.
The St Asaph Street building has been leased by the DHB and will be redesigned to transform it into a modern birthing unit.