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The profession of midwifery was celebrated at Otago and Southland hospitals. Holly Taylor, of Dunedin, said student midwife Samantha Watson ''caught'' her 3.995kg son Archie at Queen Mary Maternity Centre at 4.55am on Sunday.
''She was hands-on.''
She encouraged expectant mothers to allow a student midwife to learn alongside their chosen midwife.
Archie was her second child and midwives were ''super-important'' in providing support during a pregnancy and after the birth, she said.
The midwives at Queen Mary were ''amazing'' and came - at the push of a button - to answer any questions about the health and well-being of mothers and babies, she said.
The midwives deserved greater recognition, she said.
Centre midwife Angel Temple said she worked as a midwife because she was ''passionate'' about women's health.
She encouraged more women to choose the career and care for women in their most joyous and vulnerable moments.
''We cry with women and we rejoice with women.''
Southern District Health Board executive director of nursing and midwifery Leanne Samuel said about 1800 babies were born annually in Dunedin Hospital, about 1200 in Southland Hospital and another 500 in the district were born at home or in primary maternity units.
''We're really proud of the work of our midwives and their commitment to the health of women and their babies.''
The celebrations at Dunedin Hospital included an afternoon tea and a presentation by the New Zealand College of Midwives of a book and a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation machine, which is used as an alternative to painkilling medication.
In Southland, the day was celebrated by the New Zealand College of Midwives with a bush walk and a morning tea at Southland Hospital.
In Queenstown, Lakes Hospital midwives held a celebration lunch.