Birthing Centre Newsletter November 2018

Newsletter November 2018

Birthing Centre Newsletter | November 2018





In this issue



Birthing Centre now offering an LMC Midwifery Service

Nga Hau Mangere Birthing Centre opening late January 2019




Letter from the founder 

Dear all,

It is with immense faith (hope for things to come; that which is possible) that we approach the completion of Nga Hau Mangere Birthing Centre. I have been privileged to meet with so many wonderful people through midwifery, health, cultural, and community groups, including DHB members, who strongly believe in primary birthing where possible and best post-natal care for all women. You all know who you are. We expect to bless the building and open our doors to mothers late January 2019.

‘Shadowing’ midwives these last four years has been an education and a blessing. As in labour, our hard work and perseverance pays off with the greatest gift possible. At this time in my life the ‘gift’ is knowing that women, babies and whanau can experience best outcomes from those crucial days of care post-birth.

I took a break. My husband and I camped in Africa for a couple of weeks. It was an experience, not a holiday. ‘Starched’ hair, every orifice filled with the thick dust of Africa, I sought answers to the question that burns in my heart. What is it that defines maternal wellness?

From the urbanite Africans of Kenya who seek elective Caesareans, I was asked by African men, “is it a myth that women remain ‘as first married’ if they have a Caesar?”. Not being an Ob-gyn I could only weakly reply “having had five babies naturally, I only know that pelvic floor exercises work wonders”. Dodged a bullet there. I asked multiple people, men and women, throughout Kenya and Tanzania, ‘what are the traditional birthing and care practices?’, always keeping in mind our appalling levels of maternal suicide and anti-depressant use and it kept coming back to the same answer.

In Tanzania we slept a night in a traditional Maasai hut. Now that is an experience. The true Maasai do not believe in Western medicine and find all they need in the land; they have applied their medicines for thousands of years. In most cases if it doesn’t work then your time is up. I am not going to romanticise the Maasai, they still practise male and female circumcision at around 13 years of age, each wife (a man may have 40, or more) must build her own hut (with the help of ‘sister wives’) and she may marry only once. There are gender inequalities of biblical proportions. Don’t get me started. Space precludes me from sharing the complexities of this culture. I will always be grateful for that experience and all I learned.

We sat in the smoky hut of the oldest woman in the village. She was purportedly 99 years-old and a practising midwife. I held her hands, we talked, and through an interpreter I learned that to keep the foetus small, women would drink a concoction of herbs and animal fat after eating meat, to make themselves vomit. If a baby is breech, they massage one side of the belly only, turning the baby. They always give birth laying on their back in the hut, with a midwife and many women gathered in the small dark antechamber.

So, what is the answer to the question of maternal wellness? My personal observation in the short time I had, but questioning many, was that there exists in these Third World countries and other traditional cultures, a collective consciousness of honouring life, pregnancy, and a woman’s role in the creation and care of new life. Whether a child is born in a hospital, yurt, tent, or a Maasai hut, she is given family and social support to transition smoothly from pregnancy to motherhood. No matter how many children she produces. The Maasai woman has two months where she does nothing but feed and bond with her baby. The women of the village fully support her. The next three months she returns to light work.

New Zealand is not Third World. We are high-tech, but have we lost our collective consciousness? Has bio-politics reduced the mothers who are growing our future to monetary units? There is a disconnect and it is past time to fix it. Not only do the women of New Zealand have a legal, ethical and moral right to extended post-natal care (Section 88) compared to the Third World countries I have seen and centuries of tradition among many cultures, it goes against human rights to deny women and their babies this time of care. The NZ Government, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Development, and the Human Rights Commission have a role to play, to be accountable. Mothers matter. Let’s make that mean something.

“Making the decision to have a baby – it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside of your body.”  – Elizabeth Stone.

If you would like to learn more of another culture and maternity practices please open this link. This is the experience of my friend ‘A’, working in a high-tech maternity hospital in the Middle East .

Nga mihi,

Chloe Wright
CEO, Birthing Centre Ltd




All of our centres now offer an LMC Midwifery Service!

We’re excited to let you know that all of our birthing centres now offer an LMC Midwifery Service to women who are unable to find a midwife to provide their primary care.

Bethlehem, Te Papaioea and Te Awakairangi Birthing Centres are all offering a 24/7 midwifery care and telephone service. This free service operates in the same manner as any other LMC midwifery service.

All the midwives employed by our birthing centres are experienced primary care midwives who support women who wish to have a primary birth experience in the birthing centre.

Women who wish to use the LMC service must meet the following criteria:

  1. They have tried to attain the services of an LMC service but have been unable to do so.
  2. They are planning to birth at the centre.
  3. They must understand that a team of midwives will provide their care.
  4. They are willing to attend the birthing centre for all their antenatal care.
  5. Arrangements will be made to provide the postnatal care for the women.
  6. Pregnant mother and baby are both healthy.

Referrals can be:

  • From the woman herself
  • From another LMC
  • From the DHB

If you are pregnant and have been unable to find an LMC midwife to provide your antenatal, labour and delivery care, please contact your local birthing centre and talk to the Clinical Midwife Manager or a staff midwife about the midwifery service we are able to offer.

  • Bethlehem Birthing Centre, Tauranga: 07 570 6106
  • Te Papaioea Birthing Centre, Palmerston North: 06 929 4584
  • Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre, Lower Hutt: 04 595 4035




Nga Hau Mangere Birthing Centre – the final countdown is on!

We’ve been delighted with the interest we’re getting from the South Auckland community about Nga Hau Mangere Birthing Centre, which is expected to open late January 2019.

The birthing centre has been warmly welcomed by many primary health focused advocates who have sought this level of care in their community.

It’s important to us that the birthing centre meets the needs of mothers and whanau in the area. We have consulted extensively with cultural, health, and community groups in the area and we welcome questions and feedback from the community.
If you’d like to get in touch with us regarding Nga Hau Mangere Birthing Centre, please email

The Manukau Courier newspaper ran a story about the birthing centre on their front page. You can read it here.




Liora Noy

We introduce you to Liora Noy, who runs the Milk Café at Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre and is soon to launch a post-natal depression support group at the centre. Liora is a Registered Nurse and Lactation Consultant and also runs the Newtown Breastfeeding Support Centre, which is supported by the Wright Family Foundation.

Supporting mothers’ mental health is Liora Noy’s passion.

A mother of three children aged 9, 16 and 19, Liora experienced severe post-natal depression (PND) herself, which inspired her to help other mothers.

“My focus is mothers’ mental health and helping mums feel better about themselves, and also normalising life with a newborn,” says Liora, who trained as a lactation consultant 10 years ago, and dances African and contemporary dance and teaches Hawaiian dance.

“Much of the anxiety, stress and depression in mums comes from not having accurate expectations about behaviour in a newborn. I talk to mums about what the reality and challenges of a newborn is like: they may want to eat all the time, they may not want to sleep unless they are on you.

“When mums are told this is normal, their expectations change and you don’t see depression and anxiety to the same degree.”

Liora’s passion for supporting new families struggling with the adjustment to parenthood sees her teach antenatal and breastfeeding classes, as well as a course she developed on PND -‘Out of the Blues’ – all run through Birth Ed.

Breastfeeding challenges can be a pathway into PND and anxiety. Supporting new mothers with breastfeeding is a way to protect their mental health, says Liora.

“I see a lot of connection with a mum having breastfeeding challenges, and how she is doing emotionally. I do the breastfeeding work because mums feel empowered, and they feel better about themselves, if breastfeeding is easier for them. That’s where my passion is.”

Through Milk Café at Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre, Liora puts her skills to use by supporting mums with any breastfeeding challenges they may have.

The other goal of the group is to strengthen a sense of community and foster coffee groups, primary birthing and support networks for the new mums.

“Through Milk Café we can facilitate relationships and create connections between the members, especially the ones who maybe don’t have an antenatal group, or who feel alone and isolated. That’s been happening, which is great – the women have been exchanging contact details.

“I am there to facilitate the conversation so that mums come out of Milk Café empowered and feeling better.”

Liora is soon to launch a new post-natal depression support group at Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre. The monthly group, called Better Beginnings, will provide support for mums struggling emotionally.

Liora is a big fan of the Birthing Centre philosophy and welcomes the addition of Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre to Wellington.

“It’s an amazing asset. There is a huge need for mums to get the qualified care they need, the time to sit with them and make sure that breastfeeding is going well, that everything is going well, and that all the questions they need to ask have been asked. Birthing Centre does a great job of this.”




Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre welcomes its first midwifery students

Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre recently welcomed its first cohort of Otago Polytechnic students, who each spent a day at the birthing centre. We hope to encourage and support them in their midwifery studies with an emphasis on ‘keeping birth normal’. Well done team!




Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre opening video

If you missed the official opening of Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre, you can now view the official proceedings online!

Scroll to the bottom of this page on our website to see the video.




Space for you and your baby

We understand how important it is for new parents to connect with others, and learn about parenting and children’s development in a safe, facilitated environment.

So we at Birthing Centre and the Wright Family Foundation are delighted to team up with the inspiring Space for you and your baby programme, which offers just that.

Space groups meet weekly, giving parents and their babies the chance to make real connections during baby's first year. We love that Space groups are for all ages, cultures, and backgrounds – all parents together.

The Wright Family Foundation is thrilled to support a Space group now running at Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre in Lower Hutt.

At Space for you and your baby, new parents and their babies can form real connections as the group meets weekly over baby’s first year.

The sessions include relevant discussion topics, music, movement, books and play experiences.

Discussion topics can include sleeping, exploring the transition to parenting, crying, stimulation, brain development, attachment and movement.

We’re thrilled to support this programme which is so aligned with us at the Wright Family Foundation and Birthing Centre. The aim of the foundation’s Love Grows Brains campaign is to share brain development research on the importance of bonding, talking to and interacting with your baby in a positive way – and Space for you and your baby does this with new parents on a weekly basis.

Find out more about Space for you and your baby here:




Find us online

Our website,, is a great port of call for anyone who wants to find out more about primary birthing, our philosophy and service.

Check out our Facebook pages too: 
Bethlehem Birthing Centre:
Te Papaioea Birthing Centre:
Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre at Melling:





Quote of the day

“One generation of deeply loving parents would change the brain of the next generation, and with that, the world.” 
Charles Raison







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