Skip to main content

Media release - Keep preterm babies with their mothers, says Paediatric Society

Media Releases

Media release

17 November 2021

Keep preterm babies with their mothers, says Paediatric Society

Some preterm babies should be kept with their mothers rather than taken to neonatal or special care units, says the Paediatric Society of New Zealand (PSNZ).

Paediatric Society Executive Committee member Associate Professor Nicola Austin says, “Keeping mothers and babies together gives the best opportunity to establish breastfeeding and the support given promotes the well-being of mother and baby.

Today is World Prematurity Day, which aims to raise awareness of the challenges and burden of preterm birth globally. The global theme for World Prematurity Day 2021 is Zero Separation Act now! Keep parents and babies together, even if born too soon.

Professor Austin says, “In New Zealand 7.4 percent of births are born premature or before the 37th week of pregnancy. That’s around 4,500 births a year.

“Prematurity is more common if the babies are multiples (twins or triplets). Māori babies are overrepresented and the impact on whānau is significant and needs to be addressed.

“This year’s theme particularly resonates with the Newborn Network of the PSNZ. The 2020 review of transitional care in New Zealand by the PSNZ and the Ministry of Health was released this year. This focussed on the care and resources babies born near term need so they can stay with their mother on the postnatal ward. The alternative is admission to a neonatal or special care babies unit and separation from the mother, until ready for discharge home.”

Professor Austin says, “Work is continuing with a group of nurses, midwives and paediatricians writing protocols and the resources needed to care for these preterm babies. Staffing and the physical environment are two significant areas to be addressed nationally.”


For further information or interviews please contact Ally Clelland, Communications Manager, Paediatric Society NZ, 022 044 2161.

10 May 2022
Kia ora colleagues Please find attached a position statement that has been agreed by PSNZ leadership and a group of Council members re the Māori Health Authority. We have chosen an approach which will not necessarily attract significant new media interest but is…
03 May 2022
Media release 3 May 2022 Significant gaps in asthma care in children needs addressing says Paediatric Society On World Asthma Day (Tuesday 3 May) the Paediatric Society is calling for urgent action to address the ongoing significant gaps in asthma care in…
20 Apr 2022
The Executive Committee recently approved the following Media, Public Communications and Statements Policy, please familiarise yourselves with it if you are working with the media. 2022-20-4 PSNZ Media Policy.pdf (112.1 KB)