Rhonda’s born to make a dif­fer­ence

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Scott Morgan

Mid­wife Rhonda Jack­son says she feels hugely priv­i­leged to have de­liv­ered more than 1000 ba­bies dur­ing her 30year ca­reer.

And the One­hunga res­i­dent has dealt with many fam­i­lies over the years, which she thinks has had a pos­i­tive ef­fect on her.

“It’s ab­so­lutely the best thing. They make a dif­fer­ence in our lives. We de­velop each other.”

The Birth­care clin­i­cal man­ager of mid­wifery has also seen many changes in the sec­tor dur­ing that time.

“When I started things were very struc­tured.”

That meant the ma­jor­ity of women had their ba­bies in a hospi­tal set­ting.

But she says there are many more choices for preg­nant women to­day, with hos­pi­tals, birthing units and home birth all pop­u­lar op­tions.

“What’s im­por­tant is choice. Peo­ple aren’t go­ing to func­tion well out­side their com­fort zone.”

She re­mem­bers her time prac­tis­ing in south Auck­land as one of the most sat­is­fy­ing in her ca­reer.

“All the ex­tended fam­ily at­tend which makes for a re­laxed at­mos­phere,” Rhonda says.

“Each place you go has its own char­ac­ter, so it pays to be flexible and just work with it.”

She says there are sev­eral rea­sons for the short­age of mid­wives to­day, in­clud­ing a lack of places for mid­wives at ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions in the past and growth in pop­u­la­tion.

“We were caught short, like the med­i­cal pro­fes­sion.”

But Rhonda feels there should be a fo­cus on ed­u­cat­ing women about the birthing process, which was one of the themes of In­ter­na­tional Mid­wives Day ear­lier this week.

She says ante-na­tal and post-na­tal classes, as well as ses­sions with phys­io­ther­a­pists and lac­ta­tion ex­perts, can help in the ed­u­ca­tion process.

A new mid­wifery cen­tre in Royal Oak, which opened on Mon­day, will also help ed­u­cate women about preg­nancy.

AUT mid­wifery lec­turer Nimisha Waller, who will also be in­volved in run­ning the cen­tre, says it will ben­e­fit mums and mid­wives alike.

“Our vi­sion is pro­vide a place for mid­wives and women to have a com­mu­nity that can pro­vide ma­ter­nity in­for­ma­tion,” Nimisha says.

The cen­tre is open Mon­day to Thurs­day, from 8am to 2pm, at 14 Er­son Ave, Royal Oak.

For more in­for­ma­tion phone 625-9764 or email auckmrc@ nz­coms.org.nz.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

New­born: Birth­care’s mid­wifery clin­i­cal man­ager Rhonda Jack­son, with three-day-old Agnes Laavasa.

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