September 24, 2019
Stillbirths trending down but more change needed
The Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Committee says the rate of stillbirths for Māori and Pākehā mothers is going down, but not for other ethnic groups.
Chair John Tait says the figures show the need to improve models of care to meet the needs of all mothers, but particularly Indian and Pacific mothers.
The leading cause of perinatal-related death is physical abnormality present from birth.
Recommendations include funding maternal mental health services and mandatory fortification of bread with folic acid to reduce preventable death and serious illness from neural tube defects.
The report says a system change for Māori mothers, babies and their whānau is urgently needed.
Māori women living in the poorest communities in Aotearoa experience the greatest loss from perinatal related deaths.
Suicide is the leading cause of maternal death, which is defined as being while pregnant or within 42 days of the end of pregnancy, with Māori mothers more than twice as likely to die as Pākehā mothers.
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