Queenstown midwife Ann Mackay, pictured, attended a lunch
yesterday with other Wakatipu and Central Otago midwives to
celebrate International Day of the Midwife. Photo by
They see the happiest moments and are also there for the
most risky, but Queenstown midwife Ann Mackay said most people
''do not think about'' the role of a midwife until they need
Ms Mackay, a Lakes District Hospital midwifery co-ordinator
and core midwife, has been in the profession for three years,
one as a community midwife.
She took up a role with the Southern District Health Board
after a year of community midwifery, which means calls and
call-outs are possible at all hours.
Yesterday was International Day of the Midwife and various
celebrations honoured midwives.
The theme this year was ''The world needs midwives now more
Midwives work in a variety of settings across the area
covered by the Southern District Health Board, including home
birth and small primary birthing units for women with normal
pregnancy and birth, through to secondary and tertiary
hospital birth units and maternity wards for women with
complex medical and pregnancy issues.
Ms Mackay said community midwives were on call 24 hours a day
and ''there are some women who will abuse that a little
bit'', adding some calls received were not about emergency
She became a midwife after having her own children and said
what people might not realise was the demands placed on
A lot of the time they were on their feet and thinking
constantly, which was tiring.
''We are available at the end of a phone or the drop of a
''There is no typical day [of a midwife], which is another
good part of the job.''
Two midwives must be present at births and the hospital
midwives supported their community equivalents when they
brought women in to give birth.
''We do deal with life-and-death situations.
''I think we do cope quite well,'' she said, adding there was
ample support from doctors and nurses.
''And we debrief a lot.
''It's a really rewarding job because most of the time it's
The worst part of the job, she said, was ''probably those sad
''Death is a reality of life. Losing a baby or a mother [can
happen] but, thankfully, not very often.''
• About 1800 babies are born in Dunedin Hospital. About 1200
are born in Southland Hospital.
• About 500 are born at home or in primary maternity units,
of which the Lakes District Hospital is one.
In Queenstown there are:
• Two teams of four community midwives.
• Five permanent midwives at Lakes District Hospital.
• Two casual midwives who relieve at the hospital.