Preventative education for our parents and newborns

Petition for dedicated postnatal education when pregnant

Would you like to see New Zealand parents receive more postnatal education while pregnant? If so, please sign this petition asking our New Zealand to resource dedicated, postnatal education for our expectant parents. Currently, when parents become pregnant there are many avenues available for them to learn about the antenatal stages of pregnancy and labour. Generally they will also receive a little information in these classes about breastfeeding and the changes for Mum, Dad and baby for the first few weeks of life. This petition asks, is that enough? The signatures on this petition say, loud and clear, NO IT IS NOT!

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Five preventative intervention policy proposals for mum, dad and baby's wellbeing

To follow below are five policy proposals that I have placed before our Minister of Health, David Clark for Children's Day 2018 and the mental health inquiry that the government is currently holding. Each proposal is open for anyone to submit their thoughts and research to me and hopefully in due course, to the select health committee. You can download the full PDF submission that was sent to our Minister of Health by clicking on the button below and, please click and fill out the form if you would like to be kept up-to-date on developments. 

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Policy Proposal One

Dedicated postnatal education and health promotion for all expectant New Zealand parents is fully funded by government. Currently there is very limited postnatal education being offered to parents while they are pregnant, despite the fact that parenting is such a critical role, and newborns are our most vulnerable population. In a social climate where extended families are often not living close by, where New Zealand’s postnatal health service is already stretched to provide the in-depth care that all parents and newborns deserve, with hospital discharge often being within 2-12 hours, and high postnatal depression rates, this education could make a highly beneficial impact on health outcomes for both baby, mother and father. The signed petition at the top of this page will be submitted with this proposal and continue to gather signatures and be submitted again throughout the policy process.


Policy Proposal Two

All mothers and newborns can stay a minimum of 48 hours in hospital after all births, with partners able to sleep in with their partner and newborn. Families are given the option to stay up to a minimum of four days in hospital if they so choose. When implemented the carrying out of this proposal would ideally be monitored and reported on in the New Zealand Maternity Clinical Indicators series, as would the incidences and health indicators of re-admittance after discharge.

Time of stay in hospital must allow for the following to occur before discharge:

  • The mother is debriefed after birth to ensure they understand what happened during birth and why, potential future issues, and have all their questions answered
  • Feeding is established and both health professional and mother confirms confidence in its sustainability post-discharge
  • A discussion held with the mother and father about signs of poor health possibilities for baby and signs of postnatal depression is undertaken
  • A list of all other support services in the mother's community are provided.

Policy Proposal Three

All newborns are routinely checked at birth for ankyloglossia (tongue tie) and lip ties by a qualified and fully trained professional at the primary birthing hospital, or by the LMC attending the homebirth.

Adequate training is funded for all maternity workforces to ensure this standard procedure is implemented. Where detected and necessary treatment of a tongue or lip tie happens at the hospital, with the parents’ consent, or the necessary procedure referrals are made for treatment before moving onto the secondary maternity facility or - when it’s a homebirth - before the midwife leaves the house. Procedures are not to be done in house by midwifes.

Incidences of tongue and lip tie at birth are recorded to collect data on the prevalence of cases for there is an awareness within clinical practice that these are on the increase.

Funding is allocated for research to be undertaken on whether folic acid in popular brands of pregnancy supplements are the cause of the rise in tongue and lip ties.


Policy Proposal Four

New Zealand’s Paternity leave policy is amended to:

  • Employees who have been working for their employer for between 6 and 12 months (averaging at least 10 hours per week) by the time of their baby’s expected delivery or adoption date are entitled to three weeks paid leave, exclusive from the mother’s paid parental leave.

  • Employees who have been working for their employer for 12 months or more (averaging at least 10 hours per week) by the time of their baby’s expected delivery or adoption date are entitled to four weeks paid leave, exclusive from the mother’s paid parental leave.

Policy Proposal Five

For the government to provide full education to all health professionals, royal New Zealand Plunket Society, Well Child providers and parents on the health risks of soy for newborns.

Soy based formula to be removed from New Zealand supermarkets shelves, and made available exclusively through prescription with an accompanying medical warning.

For clear labeling on all soy formula that is sold in New Zealand to include a health warning saying ‘soy formulas have a high phytoestrogen content, which could pose a risk to long-term reproductive health of infants.'

The Ministry of Health’s website changes its position stated on its website, to be in line with international research that condemns soy formula use for newborns.


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