Mothers Matter welcomes today’s policy announcement by the National Party that will enable all women to receive up to 72 hours of funded, postnatal care at the maternal facility of her choice and establishes a ring-fenced maternity fund to support this entitlement.
Mothers Matter spokesperson, Dame Lesley Max says this proposed policy is a positive step in acknowledging that the hours after the birth of a baby are critical to the mental and physiological health and wellbeing of a woman and her baby.
“As a society we have been undervaluing the significance of the postnatal period. Giving birth is similar to running an ultramarathon and the journey to being a new mother should never be underestimated. While for many women this is an exciting time, it is also a time of extreme vulnerability and apprehension.
“Currently women are entitled to receive up to 48 hours of postnatal care, however mothers are not currently able to choose where they receive this care - this choice sits with the local DHB. The “3 Day Stay” policy will not only provide a woman more time, it will allow her to choose the maternal facility where she receives this care, regardless of the type of birth,” says Dame Lesley Max.
“Mothers Matter are concerned that many women are going home hours after giving birth and there is very low awareness about the long-term benefits of receiving this care. While we understand that some may wish to leave this care early, a new mother should never feel as though she has to go home before she is ready.
“The postnatal care a mother receives, provides her time and space to recover and, if she needs it, a helping hand to form the right loving bond and attachment with her new baby – setting them both on a positive lifetime trajectory.
“Both international and NZ based studies show the importance of early bonding on the long-term mental health and resilience of children. Babies are very dependent on their parents and the development of their brain depends on forming a loving bond or attachment with a primary caregiver. Without a good loving bond, a child is less likely to feel safe and secure and grow up to become happy, independent and resilient.
“If we truly want New Zealand to be the best place in the world for our families, we need to start at the very beginning of a child’s life, by fostering a loving parent-child relationship. Bonding and attachment are a journey, not an event and we all need to work together to value the importance of those first hours - the health and wellbeing of our families depend on it,” says Dame Lesley Max