Ma­ter­nity unit raises pro­file

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By MATTHEW DAL­LAS

As great as it is to re­ceive recog­ni­tion and ac­co­lades, if folks don’t know you’re there . . .

Kenepuru Ma­ter­nity Unit charge mid­wife Jenny Quinn is keen to get the word out that ‘‘we’re here, and it’s a safe ser­vice’’, concerned that many Porirua fam­i­lies don’t know there is an op­tion closer to home than Welling­ton Hos­pi­tal when it comes to de­liv­ery day.

‘‘We’d like to see Kenepuru used more as birthing fa­cil­ity, but our stats are show­ing we’re go­ing to have had fewer births this year,’’ she said.

The ma­ter­nity unit, which was last week re­cer­ti­fied as a ‘‘ Baby Friendly Hos­pi­tal’’ for its breast­feed­ing pro­gramme, han­dled 273 de­liv­er­ies in 2008, 232 in 2009, and this year just 161 ( un­til the end of Novem­ber).

Ms Quinn puts this down to the at­trac­tion of Welling­ton Hos­pi­tal’s up­graded ob­stet­rics and ma­ter­nity ser­vice, but she is concerned a lot of res­i­dents don’t know Kenepuru is an op­tion.

‘‘One staff [mem­ber] at Creek­fest, did a sur­vey. She asked peo­ple about the unit and found there were women who didn’t know we ex­isted and of those who did know, many didn’t know we had a birthing unit.’’

Women with preg­nan­cies con­sid­ered at-risk are re­ferred to Welling­ton, and the avail­abil­ity of an epidu­ral en­sures the re­gional hos­pi­tal will al­ways be pre­ferred by many mums-to-be.

Ms Quinn doesn’t fore­see Kenepuru, which of­fers Pethi­dine and Entonox (gas and air) for pain re­lief, ever pro­vid­ing epidu­rals be­cause anaes­thetists and the­atre rooms would be re­quired.

But for women ex­pect­ing to have a vagi­nal birth, ‘‘mid­wives en­cour­age them to start out here and see how they go’’.

What Kenepuru does have over Welling­ton is its post­na­tal rooms, which are sin­gle-bed suites, al­low­ing new mums a more pri­vate re­cov­ery and time with their ba­bies.

‘‘Hav­ing a room to them­selves, the ob­vi­ous ben­e­fit is the quiet. But some find it too quiet. Some Pa­cific Is­land women, they’re used to hav­ing fam­ily around and just want to go home,’’ she said.

About 500 women trans­fer from Welling­ton Hos­pi­tal to Kenepuru with their new­borns each year for post­na­tal care.

Most stay in the ward for up to 48 hours, longer if still re­quir­ing as­sis­tance (usu­ally with breast­feed­ing).

Ms Quinn said four of the six post­na­tal rooms are in use at any one time, and some­times it’s full. Fam­i­lies are en­cour­aged to trans­fer di­rectly from the de­liv­ery suite.

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