June 26, 2018
Death among pēpi still too high
The number of mothers dying during pregnancy or soon after birth has dropped for the first time since 2006, but the neonatal death rate has not fallen in the past ten years.
The latest report by the Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Commission says there is now one maternal death for every 10,600 births, compared with one for ever 5500 births a decade ago.
The neonatal death rate was 2.5 per 1,000 live births in 2016.
Commission chair Sue Belgrave says the majority of neonatal deaths are preterm babies of 20 to 24 weeks’ gestation who are born alive but then die.
Māori, Pacific and Indian women, and women under the age of 20, have a significantly higher risk of their baby dying from prematurity.
She says more must be done to reduce these deaths in New Zealand.
Recommendations in the report focus on preventing preterm birth, providing optimal care and reducing ethnic inequity by:
– targeting women with a previous preterm birth at less than 34 weeks;
-developing a national approach to caring for women at risk of giving birth before 25 weeks, including assisting with transfer to a tertiary hospital before birth.
– lead maternity carers and DHBs ensuring every baby has access to safe place to sleep.
– cultural competency training of the maternity and neonatal workforce.
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