Southern maternity care continues to improve

Southern maternity care continues to improve


Women in the south have good levels of maternity care and better outcomes than many other places in New Zealand, a Ministry of Health report released this week shows.

The New Zealand Maternity Clinical Indicators report birth outcomes for women and babies across all DHBs in New Zealand and the latest Indicators show that Southern DHB continues to provide quality maternity care.

“We’re delighted with the results. We can see an improvement once again this year and this shows that we’re providing quality maternity care from the community-based midwives to the specialist services in hospital,” says Southern DHB Director of Midwifery, Jenny Humphries.

The latest report shows Southern DHB has the fourth highest level of Lead Maternity Carers (LMC) registration in the first trimester in New Zealand, and that 69.4 percent of Southern women have an uncomplicated birth compared with the 67 percent average rate across the country.

“Southern DHB’s Maternity Quality and Safety Programme has been fully in place since April 2016, and the DHB is starting to see results from the quality improvement projects so far,” says Southern DHB Coordinator, Maternity Quality & Safety Programme, Heather LaDell.

One of the successful initiatives has seen maternity providers working with Southern Stop Smoking Service (Nga Kete Matauranga Pounamu Trust) to provide high-quality and effective support for smokefree whanau over the past year resulting in a reduction from 13.7 to 13.1 percent of postnatal women smoking two weeks after birth.

“The reduction seems small, but it’s going in the right direction. When we consider that every baby born in a smoke free environment is more likely to be full term, with a good birth weight and less likely to need to start their life in the neonatal intensive care unit, we understand why this is such a priority.

“We want to give these women and their babies the best chance for a healthy future and we’re continuing to work hard in this area to make this happen” says Ms Humphries

A quality improvement programme targeting third/fourth degree tears is also starting to see results with a decrease in these rare complications of birth.

“The results are a good demonstration of effective quality improvements leading to better outcomes for women and babies.

“Programmes are in place in all the areas where we want to see improvement, and we’re working hard to ensure that there is consistent and co-ordinated quality care provided to women across the Southern district,” commented Ms LaDell.

About the Maternity Clinical Indicators

The 2016 Maternity Clinical Indicators Report can be found at

This report presents comparative maternity interventions and outcomes data for pregnant women and their babies by maternity facility and district health board region. It presents 20 indicators that reflect care during pregnancy and the postnatal period, severe maternal morbidity and outcomes for babies at birth.

  • One applies to women who registered with a lead maternity carer (LMC).
  • Eight apply to standard primiparae (definition used to identify a group of women for whom interventions and outcomes should be similar).
  • Seven apply to all women giving birth in New Zealand.
  • Four apply to all babies born in New Zealand.

This is the eighth report in the New Zealand Maternity Clinical Indicators series, with a focus on women giving birth and babies born in the 2016 calendar year.

A summary of Southern District’s performance against the 2016 New Zealand Maternity Clinical Indicators can be viewed here and Southern

DHB’s Clinical Indicator highlights can be viewed here

Photograph left to right of Maternity Quality & Safety Programme Coordinator, Heather LaDell and Director of Midwifery, Jenny Humphries

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