Wanaka mums share harrowing birth stories in plea for more midwives

Mum's share their intimate child birth stories in The Save our Wanaka Midwives video.
Mum's share their intimate child birth stories in The Save our Wanaka Midwives video. Photo credit: Bel Jones

Wanaka mothers have shared their harrowing childbirth stories in a desperate plea for more midwives in the popular resort town. 

From April 1, Wanaka will have only one remaining resident midwife to cover the estimated 180-200 expected pregnancies for the rest of the year, after Morgan Weathington finishes her job. 

A group of mothers have got together to share their intimate stories, many of which were touch-and-go situations.

The Save our Wanaka Midwives video is aimed at driving support from the public as they petition for a change to funding and support for rural midwives.

Videographer and mother Bel Jones says the mothers want a permanent birth centre to provide a safer working environment for the midwives and their clients.

"It's been an issue for a while but Wanaka is growing anyway... women who are pregnant still come to our town and might need to use our midwives who are nearly extinct."

Wanaka's resident population has increased dramatically in the past decade. The 2013 Census showed 6471 people were living in Wanaka - a 28.4 percent on the 2006 population. That number doesn't include tourists and non-resident visitors in the area.

"Basically it's a bunch of us mums getting together... it's the power of seeing a woman's face, it's real emotion," Ms Jones says.

One mother told the story of how when she gave birth, her midwife was in Queenstown helping another woman in labour. She then had to call around for someone else to help who ended up being Ms Weathington.

The helicopter couldn't fly her to hospital, there were no ambulances available in Wanaka so the volunteer fire brigade and her midwife helped keep her son alive until the next closest ambulance from Clyde, an hour's drive away, arrived.

Ms Jones says the support from people so far has been overwhelming and they are hopeful they will be able to achieve their goal of a new centre. 

The Southern DHB has been contacted for comment.