Midwives turn away pregnant teens

The Daily Post (Rotorua) 22 November 2007
Rotorua’s pregnant teens are being denied care by midwives who say they are “hard work” and don’t listen to medical advice. That’s shocked and angered a Rotorua woman battling to find a midwife for her 14-year-old pregnant daughter who has hearing difficulties and is nearly halfway through her pregnancy. Midwives say teens eat badly, drink and smoke and often ignore their advice. They’re also prone to complications and midwives don’t want the responsibility. The mother rang Rotorua’s 22 midwives on behalf of her daughter, who does not want to be identified, soon after discovering she was pregnant. Midwives were either fully booked, were attending an overseas conference near the baby’s due date or did not take on teenagers because they were “hard work”. …The Lakes district, including Rotorua and Taupo, has the second highest rate of teen pregnancies in the country, an average 180 girls under 20 giving birth each year. The 14-year-old’s mother said the lack of midwifery support for teens was “disgusting” and it appeared they just didn’t care. New Zealand College of Midwives regional spokeswoman Karen van der Leden said the Rotorua midwife’s comments were a “generalisation” and women of all ages were affected by a workforce shortage and health sector funding woes. Rotovegas Youth Health clinical leader Dr Tania Pinfold said comprehensive antenatal care was important for young mothers and their babies and youth health services were working closely with the Lakes District Health Board to improve access to services, including antenatal care.