More mums opt for home comforts in birthing

Thursday 9 December 2010, 9:25AM
By trio communications limited


More and more Auckland women are opting for the ‘home comforts’ of a primary level birthing facility to have their babies. And New Zealand’s largest privately-owned primary maternity facility, Birthcare Auckland, has recently completed a $2 million transformation and expansion to cater for the demand.  

Auckland mothers, and mothers-to-be, now have a “one-stop-shop” for all things maternity at Birthcare Auckland in Parnell.  

Birthcare’s premises have undergone a significant upgrade over the past 12 months. A third level of 236 square metres has been added to the building and the maternity hospital has been refurbished to a high standard.  

Birthcare now offers antenatal education and antenatal clinics; a team of Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) midwives, a dedicated birthing suite with four birthing rooms (previously only two), post-natal care and education; and full support for breast-feeding in surroundings that look more like a stylish home than a hospital in soft, modern tones of cream, teal and grey.  

“Women have told us they want a place that is less like a hospital to give birth and have their postnatal stay. They also want more services and education around parentcraft and breastfeeding to support them at this important time in their lives,” says Birthcare general manager Ann Hanson. 

She adds that although the facility may not look like a conventional hospital setting it has all the necessary equipment carefully concealed and at the ready should the need arise.  

Birthcare Auckland has 45 post-natal beds and four birthing rooms.  The facility expects that around 600 women will birth there in this financial year, a figure which has almost doubled in four years. Altogether around 4,200 women and babies will have postnatal stays at Birthcare.  

“Along with our modernisation, we have employed six of our own LMC midwives and created a dedicated birthing suite to give more women the option of birthing in a primary maternity unit.” 

The birthing suite, which is located on Level 1 along with some post-natal rooms, has three rooms with in-room pools either for pain-relief in labour or for water births.  A whanau birthing room has also been created to cater for larger family groups.  

Birthcare’s Education Room is situated on Level 1 this is where the antenatal education classes are held and education sessions for Midwives and Nurses. Level 2 has post-natal rooms and a lactation clinic.  

Level 3, which has views over the Domain and Museum, features ante-natal clinics and consulting rooms, a comfortable waiting area, and an office for Lead Maternity Carers and other health professionals.  

Services available on site include a lactation clinic, BCG immunisation for babies, and audiology screening for newborns. Birthcare has staffing levels which provide a high level of service and support. A resident chef also prepares appetising meals, plus morning and afternoon teas from a varied menu. Meals are served to the mother in her room. Partners are welcome to order from the menu at a small charge. 

Birthcare Auckland has 17 private single ensuite rooms and four premium rooms with queen beds and ensuites. Partners are also welcome to stay in the private and premium rooms.  

“Women who give birth at Birthcare are given a single room wherever possible.”  

There are 24 public or free accommodation rooms. Birthcare provides a three night postnatal stay free. Where the third night is needed because of a clinical reason for the woman or her baby, then this is funded by Auckland DHB.  

“Birthcare Auckland’s postnatal beds are part of the total maternity bed capacity that was planned for central Auckland.  Birthcare supports and complements the service offered by National Women’s Health service based at Auckland City Hospital.”  

“We were New Zealand’s first “Baby-Friendly” hospital in 2001 and totally support mothers who want to breastfeed.”  

Ms Hanson says the new facility offers a secure environment for women with

CCTVs, swipe-card entry and monitoring.  

Hawkins Construction was the main contractor on the Birthcare project while Creative Spaces project managed the refurbishment.