Wānaka Sun       

New birthing pool blessed at Lakes District Hospital

Posted at 6:00am Thursday 27 Aug, 2020 | By Joanna Perry newsdesk@thewanakasun.co.nz

After more than 20 years in the making, Queenstown midwives, Southern DHB staff and locals have welcomed the blessing of a new birthing pool at Lakes District Hospital.

Lakes District Hospital is situated in Frankton, near Queenstown, and services all the communities in the Queenstown Lakes District including Wānaka. 

Midwifery coordinator Ann Mackay said in addition to the new pool, the birthing room and new toilet and shower installed as part of maternity renovations were blessed by Kaumatua Michael Skerrett at a small ceremony attended by midwives, a community representative, and Southern DHB staff last Thursday. A larger community celebration would be planned once the district returns to Alert Level one.

Immersion in water for labour and birth has become increasingly popular over the last two decades. Women have found labouring in water helps them to relax and cope better with pain. Advocates suggest that immersion in water shortens the length of labour, decreases the amount of analgesia needed, and birthing in water provides the baby with a gentle introduction to the world.

“All midwives and staff are super excited about the renovations,” said Mackay. “It's lovely to have a new space and one that has been designed for the needs of the local women. The space is fresh and looks homely and welcoming. It is something positive that we can offer women during labour to support primary birthing.”

Queenstown Maternity Unit was temporarily relocated to a dental unit building as a safety measure as part of the COVID-19 response earlier this year, making national headlines last May when expectant mothers were forced to use a temporary outdoor shower due to the lack of facilities. According to Debi Lawry, associate general manager for Lakes District Hospital and Rural Health, this move provided an “opportunity” for the pool,which had taken eight years to be approved, and an additional bathroom to be installed in the maternity wing.

SDHB communications advisor Eirwen Mitchell said the pool had already been used in “multiple births” since being blessed on Thursday.

View edition 989 of the Wānaka Sun here.



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