Government must prioritise mothers and babies

The Government needs to prioritise women and babies and take urgent action to resolve issues in New Zealand’s maternity system, National’s Social Investment spokesperson Louise Upston says.

“Reports of women not receiving the care they need immediately after giving birth is exactly why the Government must introduce National’s law change to make sure all mothers receive 3 days of postnatal care.

“I have reached out to all political parties to formally seek their support to introduce a law change that would give all mothers a guaranteed minimum three days care in a postnatal facility.

“Funding will be ring-fenced for postnatal care so that if someone opts for a shorter stay then funding is available for another person who may require a longer stay.

“The first few days of a child’s life are especially crucial, spending time in a post-natal facility provides a secure environment for the critical bond between mother and child to be forged.

“Taking greater care immediately after birth will help identify any challenges a mother may be finding, such as postnatal depression. It also allows for extra support to be provided to those who may need it.

“Too many mothers are not even made aware that they are currently entitled to 48 hours at a post-natal facility, this law change would make it mandatory to inform mums about what care they can receive.

“Giving birth can be a traumatic experience for some and for many first-time mothers they don’t know how to care for their baby yet, it’s unreasonable to then burden them immediately afterwards with the responsibility to demand what they are entitled too.

“National is committed to supporting the first 1000 days of a child’s life and there’s broad agreement across Parliament we should be investing in our children. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said she wants New Zealand to be the best place in the world to be a child and this law change is one concrete way to help achieve this.

“I have asked to meet with the Health spokesperson of each political party to seek their support in fast tracking the legislation’s introduction to Parliament.

“I hope all parties recognise the importance of supporting the physical, mental and emotional health of mothers and their newborns.”

The New Zealand Public Health and Disability (3 Day Postnatal Stay) Amendment Bill can be found here.