Birthing Centre Newsletter February 2019

Newsletter February 2019

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Birthing Centre Newsletter | February 2019





In this issue



Introducing Margret Norris

Abbie's birthing story




Letter from the founder 

Dear all,

I have been mulling over how to start this, the first of 2019’s E-newsletter. Since the last one there has been such a plethora of highs and lows, tears (on my part), excitement, and a massive amount of work to complete for all of us on the beautiful Ngā Hau Māngere birthing centre, and lo! I find in my inbox this letter from a new mother. And all the frustration and fear fades into the ether…

“I wanted to express how grateful I am for your Foundation and its support for breastfeeding women.

I didn’t give birth at the Lower Hutt Birthing Centre (Te Awakairangi) but as a Lower Hutt resident, I went to the Centre to get breastfeeding support on Tuesdays when they hold their ‘Milk Café’.

If it wasn’t for the Lactation Consultant and the other women who shared tears and troubles with me, I wouldn’t be still breastfeeding my now 3-month-old baby boy. I had trouble with one breast, but over a few weeks of attending the Milk Café for advice, I managed to ‘dry off’ the problem breast and feed my baby with just one and it’s been great ever since! Liora – the Lactation Consultant there is an absolute godsend. She has a heart of gold and offers great advice, and truly cares about you and your baby.

Not only that, I now have a great close group of other breastfeeding mothers, as we started our own ‘Milk Café Alumni’ group as we wanted to make way for the newer mums and bubs who needed the support.

Thank you. In those early weeks, my visit to the Milk Café was sometimes the only thing I looked forward to. What you and your family does for other New Zealanders is truly special. I know I speak on behalf of many others with similar experiences to me.

Have a great day 😊

Being in existence just over four years and we now have alumni! That made my day.

We can gather the data on breastfeeding, we can gather the surveys to prove research shows the crucial importance of post-natal care, but it is only the narrative, like this one, that shows us how truly transformative genuine care and nurture can be. And then I know we are on the right track.

Marg Norris and I were invited and had the privilege to attend Ngā Manga Network at their bi-monthly meeting. These people are leaders in the Mangere area who have the best interests of Mangere and its people in their hearts and in their aspirations for a unified, best-educated, growing community. We presented a portrait of Ngā Hau Māngere Birthing Centre, its physical place in the community and the vision and values for birthing and post-natal mothers. The welcome and inclusiveness that we met with was truly inspirational. My experience to date with Māori and Pasifika has been one of genuineness, aroha, and the best of what makes us human. We may not have the support from those who control power but, by golly, those who have the welfare of families and best outcomes know and support us for our real efforts toward whanau ora. And they are the ones we will make our best efforts for. But we want to work with everyone.

I was standing in a long, slow line at the bank and when I finally got to the help desk where I was asked for ID, all I had was my Birthing Centre card. “Are you a midwife?” the young woman excitedly asked me. I had to decline that honour but when she told me she had birthed at Bethlehem Birthing Centre I told her I was the founder and CEO. She held me in conversation for an embarrassingly long time to tell me about the care and attention she had received there. While people fidgeted in line. ☹.  She said she tells everyone. And her baby is now three years old! It just keeps getting better.

For now, we are busy organising all the little things that make for big differences. At Ngā Hau Māngere Birthing Centre we have lots of beds to make, cushions to plump, our state-of-the-art machines (Panda) to unwrap, our many supports for women to choose how they birth, and we have midwives to employ.

And while I am on that subject, the rumour-mongers have become tiresome and old. Yes, we pay rates higher than the DHBs; yes, we pay APCs; yes, we pay MSRs, all mandatory training. Yes, we have very comprehensive education policies in place; yes, we pay penal rates and generous on-call rates. Yes, we encourage our midwives and support staff to spend time with mothers. Yes, we encourage the mentoring of student midwives. Yes, we are open to a scholarship programme. Yes, we have plenty of free parking. Yes, we will be midwife-led and staffed, and yes, we have, and want, teams who can have collegial fun. And yes, we have been communicating with CMDHB since 2015 and we look forward to working with them to enable well women to birth and have post-natal stays with us, thereby easing their stress on room, and allowing them to better care for those who need secondary care. And finally (but there is more) we are women/whanau-centred and dedicated to women’s rights to care, and choice of where they get their birthing and/or post-natal stay.

We are set to have our blessing and opening on March 18. Whether we can operate is dependent on employing a great team of midwives.


Chloe Wright
CEO, Birthing Centre




Ngā Hau Māngere Birthing Centre

Myths, FACTS and FAQs

Since meeting with midwives in South Auckland in January we have been asked several questions and been made aware of some unfounded myths about Birthing Centre.

We list the facts here and encourage anyone wanting to receive information directly from Birthing Centre to contact us, email:

Ceremonial opening

  • A ceremonial opening will be held on 18 March 2019. Birthing Centre has invited local iwi, politicians, DHB, health services, midwifery and parent education group representatives, and other key group representatives we see as being able to drive change for New Zealand women’s right to appropriate, funded primary maternal and post-natal care. Our space is limited, and we unfortunately are not able to extend the invitation beyond representatives of these groups.

Operational opening FACTS

  • Ngā Hau Māngere is now certified by the Ministry of Health under section 26 of the Health and Disability Services (Safety) Act 2001 to operate in the provision of health care services. However, until we have a full team of midwifes our facility will not be able to operate.

Staffing level FACTS

  • Birthing Centre facilities are staffed 24/7 and always have a minimum of one qualified midwife and one support staff on site, and one qualified midwife on-call
  • Staffing levels are increased to meet acuity
  • All our company policies and procedures have been independently audited by DAA Group and reported to the Ministry of Health, which is the basis for our certification. These include, but are not limited to: Recruitment Policy, Police Vetting Policy, Orientation Policy, Rostering Policy, Safe Staffing Policy, Staff Training, Education and Development Policy, Leave Policy, Code of Conduct, Company Philosophy, Conflict Resolution Policy, Cultural Safety Policy, Equal Employment Opportunity Policy, Health and Safety Policy

Working environment FACTS

  • We employ staff under Individual Employment Agreements
  • Our pay rates in Auckland are higher than DHB rates
  • Our rates include penal and on-call
  • We pay our midwives APC costs
  • We pay our staff mandatory training costs
  • We ensure other training opportunities are made available
  • We mentor new graduates and student midwives
  • A midwife-led team means we can give the best care and education
  • We encourage our team to spend time with new mothers
  • We build collegial relationships with our midwives and LMCs
  • We hold monthly team meetings to encourage input and empowerment
  • We offer our staff access to health insurance at a reduced rate
  • We offer our staff discounted childcare rates from the company-specified provider.

Second Midwife

  • Birthing Centre midwives are there to support LMCs and their women during a labour and birth. This includes offering the LMC a break during a long labour.
  • If an LMC chooses to have their own back-up midwife present, Birthing Centre does not pay for this.

Q: If my woman births at Ngā Hau Māngere can she have free post-natal care?

  • All women eligible for healthcare in New Zealand are funded by the Government for their labour, birth and a minimum of 48 hours post-natal care. This funding is currently allocated to DHBs. The DHB is yet to agree a funding contract with Birthing Centre to allow this funding to follow the woman to a facility of her choice.
  • All women who birth at Ngā Hau Māngere are eligible to stay for a minimum of 48 hours post-natal care.

Post-natal stays for mother who birth elsewhere FACTS

At our existing facilities, Birthing Centre provides post-natal care for mothers who birth elsewhere, if their condition is suited to primary post-natal care and they have been referred to us by the DHB.

Q. When can women be booked in to use the facility?

  • An LMC with a signed Access Agreement with Birthing Centre can book women in now and we encourage them to do so
  • LMCs who use Expect Maternity as their LMC database can ask us to configure electronic transfer of bookings (which transfers the data from their own database to ours)
  • LMCs who use alternative systems can request a login to our online booking form (which generates a booking in our database)
  • These bookings can only come to fruition if the facility is fully-staffed and operational when the booked women go in to labour

Q. Will I enter my notes on MCIS or do you have special delivery notes?

  • Birthing Centre does not use MCIS
  • Birthing Centre provides Wi-Fi access to LMCs who wish to record their notes electronically at the time of the labour and birth, into the database of their choice
  • LMCs who use Expect can request this data later be copied to Birthing Centre electronically
  • LMCs using other systems can provide the data to us either in printed or digital format as per available functionality in their database
  • Birthing Centre can provide a blank paper set of notes for LMCs who prefer to handwrite their notes and a photocopier onsite for providing the facility with a copy

Q. How can I get an Access Agreement?

Q. Can I contact Birthing Centre directly with questions?
Yes, we encourage everyone to ask us questions to ‘get it from the horse’s mouth’. Either email: or call 09 281 2046 (which will currently divert to the administration office as no one is on site at Ngā Hau Māngere yet).




Margret Norris

When Birthing Centre’s Clinical Midwife Director Margret Norris (or Marg as she is known to all of us) isn’t mentoring teams of midwives, reviewing policies and procedures, meeting with the health sector, or holding the vision and values of Birthing Centre safely in her hands, she is often found on the drag racing strip, crewing with her family.

Margret is a mother of three and ‘Nanny’ to three grandsons. Apart from supporting her husband on the drag racing strip she loves to potter in the garden and is re-acquainting herself with cooking.

“When your daughter is a chef, you don’t tend to cook,” she laughs. “But now that she’s moved, I like to try out new recipes.”
Margret says her hobbies align with her professional life and there are a lot of similarities between midwifery and drag racing.
“Midwifery and drag racing both require a safety element and managing risk. In drag racing we must ensure all the safety checks are in place. When a woman is in labour it’s all about keeping her and her baby safe.”

Both activities are also adrenalin-pumping, says Margret.

“You can’t help it. When you’re at a birth you pump adrenalin. You don’t relax until the baby is born. And in drag racing it’s the same. When my husband is going down that strip, I’m pumping adrenalin.”

Teamwork is also key, says Margret.

“Midwifery can’t be done alone. It’s about teamwork, and so is drag racing. Everyone on the team has a part to play and that influences the result at the end.”

Margret joined Birthing Centre in November 2018 after 25 years with the Bay of Plenty District Health Board, the last 10 years at Midwifery Leader.

Her experience has been widely sought after as a member of various midwifery groups, including the Ministry of Health’s Maternity Quality and Safety Group, and she has a strong network of contacts in the midwifery sector throughout New Zealand.
Margret is relishing the move from secondary birthing (in hospital) to primary birthing in the community.

“It’s the dream job to be quite honest. The primary birthing midwifery scene is a very calm environment. It’s relit my fire for midwifery and I just love it. At the end of the day I want the very best we can provide women in each of the areas we operate in.”
Margret says she loves that Birthing Centre is not only women-centred, but family-centred too.

“We nurture you, help you get feeding established - whether that’s breast, bottle or mixed feeding -and get fathers involved in the care of their babies too.”

Margret often bumps into women in the community whose babies she has delivered. “My husband hates going to the supermarket with me because it takes so long!

“It’s actually really lovely. Just recently I bumped into a mum I knew and her 18-year-old daughter walked up to me and asked to give me a hug. She said, ‘thank you for bringing me safely into the world’, and I thought ‘how beautiful is that?’”




In this issue of The Delivery we’re starting a new feature, sharing birthing stories from women around the country. All mothers have a birthing story, and while each is unique, there are often similarities, and it’s nice to know you’re not alone when it comes to facing some of the challenges that come with being a new mum. Here is Abbie’s birthing story:

Abbie Hinton, mother of two, both hospital births and post-natal care in a primary birthing unit.

“My baby was healthy, perfect. But I had real trouble breastfeeding. She was keen, but there were problems with her latch. I was raw and bleeding after one night. She wasn’t thriving and I felt like a failure because I couldn’t feed my baby. I felt a lot of pressure to keep trying. I had post-natal depression and maybe that came from that feeling that I was a failure. Our family was in turmoil and I was exhausted. I went to lactation consultants, and had her tongue snipped after it was suggested she was tongue-tied. We tried everything and nothing helped. My midwife referred me to the Waikato Family Centre and they were great, helping me with bottle-feeding and dealing with my depression. I joined a support group. From there, I had to accept that I couldn’t breastfeed. My daughter was always unsettled, but once I put her on a bottle, she was a dream baby. There were very similar stories to mine in the support group and a few of us are still good friends. It’s nice to know you’re not the only one.

“All of us in my post-natal depression support group went down with depression again after our second babies. I had a lot of guilt the first time because I wasn’t enjoying it. I knew I loved her, but it was the worst time in my life, and it was something I’d looked forward to all my life. You have an ideal of what it’s going to be like and then everything came crashing down. When I had my son and was really enjoying him as a baby, the guilt all came flooding back because I didn’t enjoy my daughter as a baby. I felt guilty for enjoying this one. It took me a long time to come to terms with things and accept that’s the way it was. I was doing my best and I had a lot of family support, so that cocooned her, and I don’t think there was any negative impact on her. My children are both very healthy, normal, bright kids.

“I think it’s really important to have that 48 hours of post-natal care. I had friends who, because they already had one at home didn’t make use of it the second time. My thinking is, once you’re home, you’re home. It’s only two days and in that time, you don’t have to do anything. You can bond with your baby without having to worry about dishes or washing, and there’s always someone bringing you amazing food! And with breastfeeding, the midwives are there for you, even if it’s just to sit and chat while the baby feeds. They answer questions and talk you through it, offering different scenarios and ways of feeding, being comfortable. Even though I knew I would give birth in hospital it was nice knowing I was going to get a place to relax and recover and bond before going home.”

If you would like to share your birthing story, please contact Kerry, email:




News from our centres


Our resident lactation consultant, Shauna Walters, has left to spend more time with her family.

Bethlehem Birthing Centre continues to offer breastfeeding support, including the Milk Café, which is a place of fellowship and support for new mothers. Milk Café is facilitated by midwives who are passionate about breastfeeding and who will be undertaking further study towards a lactation consultant qualification.

Bethlehem Birthing Centre’s very popular antenatal classes continue. They fill up fast so we recommend as soon as you get the happy news you will be the bearer of precious new life, do book in. We look forward to sharing your journey.
Did you know we have a self-contained education room available for hire? It’s an ideal venue for training days and meetings, with ample parking outside.

Our midwives have thoroughly enjoyed the new primary care service (LMC service) we have been asked to provide for women who cannot find a midwife but want to birth at Bethlehem Birthing Centre. Midwives are trained to provide primary birthing - this is their role and their passion. As Karen Guilliland said of midwives, “the practice of primary birthing is a science and an art”. The science is the skill that midwives provide at the birth, and the art is the wrap-around service they give to mothers.

Te Papaioea

Our wonderful support staffer Jodie Wilson – a student midwife who is working as a support person while she does her degree – gave birth to her first baby on 2 January 2019, earlier than expected.

Arlo was born at 36 weeks plus five days gestation and weighed 2620gms. A happy and healthy baby and mother.

Te Awakairangi

Better Beginnings
Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre is launching a new post-natal depression support group in March, providing a safe setting to really open up about how hard parenting can be.

The group, Better Beginnings, will get under way with sessions on March 14 and March 28 from 9.30am to 11.30am.

It will be facilitated by Liora Noy, a well-child and obstetric registered nurse, lactation consultant, post-natal depression survivor and peer counsellor. (See Liora’s profile in our November 2018 newsletter)

Liora is inviting mums to share their challenges as a parent in a non-judgemental, safe and supportive environment. 

“Parenting can be so hard, and sometimes it's difficult to find someone to talk to about the more challenging aspects. You might also just have questions about the ‘right’ ways to do things.

“We will talk about finding ways to be the parent you always wanted to be ­- not being a perfect parent but doing the best you can.”

Parents with babies and toddlers are welcome from throughout the region, no matter where you delivered.

New support ropes and rebozos

We have some new support ropes and rebozos available for women to use in labour.

Using a support rope securely attached to the ceiling can potentially shorten the second stage of labour by helping women into an upright position such as squatting or kneeling.

A rebozo is a Mexican shawl, traditionally used by Mexican midwives during labour and then, in the best tradition of recycling, is used by mothers to carry their babies. The energy from supporting birth is believed to carry with the wrap as it moves from a labour tool to safely carrying the baby.


Staff changes
This month we are saying goodbye to two valued support staff, Lisa Bevan and Kayla Darwin, who are both moving overseas to the Gold Coast. 

 We are also welcoming two new midwives this month – Paula Bethwaite and Tanya Dunn. 




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

“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born.” 







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