Gibbons, V., Lancaster, G., Gosman, K., & Lawrenson, R. (2016). Rural women’s perspectives of maternity services in the midland region of New Zealand. Journal of Primary Health Care, 8(3), 220–226. https://doi.org/10.1071/HC15051
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/11274
INTRODUCTION: Rural women face many challenges with regards to maternity services. Many rural primary birthing facilities in New Zealand have closed. The Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) model of maternity care, introduced in 1990, has moved provision of rural maternity care from doctors to independent midwifery services. Shortages of rural midwives in the Midland region led to rural maternity care being seen as a vulnerable service. AIM: To understand the views and experiences of rural women concerning maternity care, to inform the future design and provision of rural maternity services. METHODS: Participants were drawn from areas purposively selected to represent the five District Health Boards comprising the Midland health region. A demographic questionnaire, focus groups and individual interviews explored rural women’s perspectives of antenatal care provision. These were analysed thematically. RESULTS: Sixty-two women were recruited. Key themes emerging from focus groups and interviews included: access to services, the importance of safety and quality of care, the need for appropriate information at different stages, and the role of partners, family and friends in the birthing journey. While most women were happy with access to services, quality of care, provision of information, and the role of family in their care, for some women, this experience could be enhanced. CONCLUSION: Midwives are the frontline service for women seeking antenatal services. Support for rural midwives and for local birthing units is needed to ensure rural women receive services equal to that of their urban counterparts.
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