Nikki Preston

Nikki Preston is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Hospital eases ban on birth keepsakes

Caster Jen Christiansen (left) and photographer Cassie Emmett record stillborns for families. Photo / Christine Cornege
Caster Jen Christiansen (left) and photographer Cassie Emmett record stillborns for families. Photo / Christine Cornege

The Waikato District Health Board has lifted its ban on women having their labours and births photographed professionally — provided no intervention is required.

The DHB has responded to photographers, midwives, and the wider community who took to Facebook to express their anger over the decision to ban birth photography, and volunteers creating keepsakes of stillborn hands for parents.

As part of new guidelines aimed to give better control of who enters the hospital, professional photographers and cast makers will be allowed to help create keepsakes for the parents of stillborns provided they register and sign in as a visitor. But photos of a labour and birth can only be taken if it is uncomplicated and the lead maternity carer is providing all the care.

Waikato DHB communications director Mary Anne Gill said the guidelines had been introduced to better protect patients by knowing who was on hospital grounds.

She said the rule around professional photographers being asked to leave when any kind of intervention was required was to limit crowding.

Intervention included being induced, having an epidural, requiring forceps or ventouse, or having a caesarean section.

Cassie Emmett of Capturing Life Birth Photography said she had been stopped from capturing a woman's birth last Thursday when the woman was induced.

Carla Sargent, the founder of Hamilton-based child birth advocacy group Birth Rite, has started a petition to protect the right of women to have their birth photographed.


Restrictions

• Rules for birth photographers and cast makers:
• Sign in as a visitor.
• Take instructions from midwife in charge.
• Do not photograph any staff without permission.
• Maintain confidentiality.

- NZ Herald

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