Giving birth in a car park - a far from ideal way for Southland babies to enter the world

Southlanders are calling for urgent Government intervention after a woman was forced to give birth in the carpark of the Lumsden Maternity Centre on Friday night.

It's the third emergency birth since the maternity hub was downgraded in April - and it's left expectant mothers feeling scared and vulnerable.

In just a matter of weeks, Rebecca Falconer will give birth to her first child.

It should be a happy time waiting for the new addition but as the day gets closer her anxiety grows. She now lives over an hour from the nearest birthing centre.

Despite protests and petitions, the Lumsden Maternity Centre was downgraded in April and it no longer has emergency supplies like oxygen.

It's not a place you can give birth and doesn't have anything if it was an option.

"Each birth carries a risk, then that risk is 100 percent and it's a disastrous result for mum, baby, whanau and whole community," says Dr Matthew Stokes. 

The Southern DHB says it's "reorganised maternity services across the district to increase the equipment and support for midwives in more locations. Including establishing hubs in Te Anau and Wanaka".

MP Hamish Walker has a petition before the House Select Committee, and while he waits for action he says mothers are being ignored and giving birth in scary and degrading circumstances.

"We've told the Government time and time again there will be more babies," he says.

"My fear is, does it take the inevitable before this Government acts?"

Giving birth in a car park - a far from ideal way for Southland babies to enter the world.