Giving birth and becoming a mother is one of life’s defining moments, creating the opportunity for a lifetime of Mother’s Days. To do this safely, nearly 85% of Kiwi mums are registered with a lead maternity carer who provides professional medical support throughout their pregnancy and birth.* In contrast, in developing countries, fewer than half are assisted through their birth by a skilled attendant.**

ChildFund New Zealand wants Kiwis to celebrate the support mothers here receive on Mother’s Day, with an irreplaceable gift to mums in developing countries – where 99% of the world’s maternal deaths occur.

“New Zealanders can help reduce these mortality rates with a life-changing gift; to train a woman to become a qualified birth attendant in her community and reduce the risk faced by so many mothers when giving birth in these areas,” says ChildFund spokesperson and mum-to-be Kathy McKay.

For $64 this gift will provide formal training with the on-going benefit of the attendant being qualified to help expectant mothers and babies in the community for years to come.

“Giving birth is daunting enough for mothers anywhere, but I’ve seen for myself in remote, rural Africa, most mums give birth at home, without pain relief or medical help of any kind.

“That critical first month after their babies are born is also when we see many unnecessary maternal and infant deaths take place. Most are simply through lack of adequate professional care and knowledge of what to do when basic warning signs present themselves.

“The training of a birth attendant not only gives the trainee vital skills personally, it’s a gift shared with pregnant women and newborn infants at a time when they’re needed most. For example, a new mother in Kenya is 100 times more likely to die following her labour than a mother in New Zealand, and their newborns face a one in 35 chance of death in the first month of their lives.

“Mother’s Day is a perfect time to thank our mums for their gift of life, by gifting that potential to struggling mums and their families in the developing world,” says Kathy.

Purchasers receive a special gift card to give their mums that describes the gift and explains how and who it benefits. ChildFund’s Gifts that Grow range has a wide selection of inspirational gifts for Mother’s Day including food for a children, school items like shoes, school bags, uniforms and toys, or gardening tools for a mum in the developing world to grow crops for her family. To order, buy online or call 0800 223 111.

Facts about Maternal Health

  •  In the 21st century only two-thirds of the world’s women receive care from a skilled professional when giving birth (i.e. a midwife, nurse or doctor). Many women living in poor, rural areas have limited or no access to health care. 
  • 99% of the world’s maternal deaths occur in developing countries. 
  • Causes of maternal death are largely preventable if signs are detected by a trained birth attendant. The appropriate medical intervention can either be administered at the time, or the mother is transferred to a public health facility to receive the support required.
  • Maternal health and newborn health are closely linked. More than three million newborn babies die every year, and an additional three million babies are stillborn. 
  • Most maternal and newborn deaths are clustered around the first week after birth, largely on the first and second day, where the support of a trained birth attendant could make a world of difference.


* Refers to 84.3% of pregnant women who are known to have registered with a Lead Maternity Carer (i.e. midwife, obstetrician, GP) in NZ in 2010, sourced from the Ministry of Health Maternity Factsheet, 2001-2010 ** Overseas statistics are the most recent available, obtained from a variety of sources including the World Health Organisation, World Bank, UNICEF and ChildFund’s own records.

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