Opposition to the regional women's health services plan has gained momentum with a march taking place in Palmerston North on Monday.
The march aims to highlight concerns around a proposal which would see some maternity services removed from Wanganui Hospital, requiring women who need acute obstetric care to travel to Palmerston North Hospital.
Tungane Kani, chairperson of the NZ College of Midwives central region, said the march was to show both boards that "our women deserve better".
Ms Kani said the women, midwives and others in the wider community, would march from the Square to the MidCentral DHB.
"Midwives in our regions are deeply concerned that this proposal will put women, families, midwives and communities under additional stress," she said.
She said within the MidCentral region there had been little meaningful engagement with women and the community, including midwives and other maternity health professionals, who would be significantly affected by the proposal.
"As maternity health professionals, we are concerned about the reality of what will eventuate if this proposal goes ahead," Ms Kani said.
"These communities are already under pressure. It is unacceptable to add to that by removing full maternity services which could see around 400 Wanganui women having their babies in another area, leaving their whanau and support behind them."
She said the proposal did not encourage positive outcomes.
"Continuity of care" - so important to a positive outcome and the overall maternity experience of women - was a cornerstone of the maternity system that was at risk by taking women more than an hour away from their LMC midwife.
"For those women who have problems during their pregnancy, it is possible they wouldn't return to Wanganui until after their baby is born.
"And we are also dismayed that the cultural ramifications of this proposal seem to have been totally ignored," Ms Kani said.