|Recently-released national maternity indicators show
that nearly 80 per cent of women between the ages of 20 and 34 have a
normal and uncomplicated birth in the Waikato District Health Board
The report compares district health boards across the country by
analysing the birth outcomes of first time mothers and enables each of
the 20 DHBs to compare the data on a group of women for whom similar
birth outcomes and interventions are expected.
When comparing Waikato DHB’s results with national numbers, the DHB
is doing better than the national average of 70 per cent and continues
to be in the top five performing DHBs.
Chief operating officer Jan Adams said the maternity indicators data
gives Waikato DHB an indication of how well it is doing nationally with a
comparable group of women.
“We are pleased to see that Waikato DHB is providing good services when comparing us to other DHBs.”
Waikato DHB’s rate of instrumental vaginal births is lower than the
national average and the caesarean section rate is the lowest in the
Obstetrics clinical director Penelope Makepeace said the indicators, now into their second year, gives her department the opportunity to look at both local and national trends.
“As a department we are delighted with our DHB vaginal delivery rate and low instrumental and caesarean section rate.”
Other indicators outline that:
- The DHB has a higher than the national average rate for premature
births which is an area for further investigation. There is a
correlation between smoking during pregnancy and premature birth and
unfortunately smoking rates are high in some parts of the Waikato. This
however will not account for all occurrences of premature births.
- Induction of labour is slightly higher than the average and is an area Waikato DHB will further investigate.
- Encouragingly out of all DHBs Waikato has the lowest rate of women
affected by perineal trauma. The DHB will look at how it can continue
to improve rates of intact perineum. However when you look at the data
on the small number of women who have had perineal trauma the DHB has a
higher rate than the national average for third or fourth degree tears.
- In terms of blood transfusion during birth by caesarean section it
is satisfactory to see that the DHB has a lower rate than the national
average and a lower rate for blood transfusion for vaginal births.
“Waikato DHB covers a sizeable geographical area and we are fortunate
to have a wide range of primary birthing facilities where a large
number of our normal uncomplicated births occur enabling healthy women
to birth nearer their home,” said Mrs Adams.
“As a DHB our overall rates for
most of the indicators are very good. When you compare the hospital
facility only data, Waikato Hospital rates in some cases show higher
rates of intervention than some of the other secondary care hospitals.”
Director of nursing and midwifery Sue Hayward said this indicates
that the women who require intervention are in the right place for care.
“Either because they started their birth journey in Waikato Hospital
or have been transferred in from one of our birthing facilities when
they have needed intervention, and those who have a normal birth in a
primary birthing facility are in the right place to receive the right
level of care they require,” she said.
The data is a snap shot of births focusing on 845 births in Waikato
and comparing the outcomes of 16 per cent of all births across the
“For this group of births it tells us that outcomes on average are
better in Waikato than some of our peer DHBs on a number of the