Record baby numbers; birthing pool popular

Oamaru is in the middle of a baby boom, and more than half of a record number of newborns delivered over the past year have been water-babies, according to Oamaru Hospital records.

Between July 2012 and June 2013, 113 babies were born in Oamaru and hospital chief executive Robert Gonzales said that was the highest number of births recorded in the past 10 years.

A total of 60% of births in Oamaru were in the hospital's birthing pool. Mr Gonzales said there had been about 107 births in Oamaru in the previous year.

He put the increase in births down to a combination of factors.

''Part of it is the increasing number of migrant workers here for dairying, especially, because they come in families, and we are seeing an increasing number of women coming to us for care from the Waitaki population.

''Generally, I think the model of care here is something that is unique as well, where midwives look after women in teams so that there is continuity with care.

''We also have the birthing pool, and that is a very popular facility for local women.''

The $25,000 birthing pool had been installed about two years ago, and it was now becoming more popular as its benefits in terms of pain management became more widely known, he said.

Last month, nine out of the 11 babies delivered were born in the birthing pool, he said.

Mr Gonzales said the facilities at the hospital also meant mothers who might have had to give birth in Dunedin or elsewhere tended to come back to Oamaru for post-natal care.

A total of 266 women had been booked into the hospital's maternity centre over the period, with 50% of those giving birth in Oamaru and 50% at Queen Mary Maternity Hospital, with a transfer rate of women in labour to Queen Mary Hospital of 18%.

The hospital had a breast-feeding rate on discharge from the maternity centre of 92%.


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