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magazine is defending its use of a controversial cover image which has drawn fire from New Zealand midwives.

The August issue of the magazine features an image of a baby being held upside down, with the word "midwives" across the infant's body.

New Zealand College of Midwives advisory Norma Campbell issued a statement this morning accusing the magazine of "sending dangerous messages".


She said she had received calls from midwives disgusted at the image and angry it was portraying them in a bad light.

Midwives promoted loving, skin to skin contact when holding babies, not hanging a baby upside-down by its feet, she said.

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editor Virginia Larson said the response was "extreme" and an over-reaction to a mocked up shot.

She said the College of Midwives was attacking the cover to avoid debating the contents of reporter Donna Chisholm's article on maternity care.

"The 12-page article is one of the most thorough investigations into the state of New Zealand maternity care in recent times and raises serious issues about the state of our country's maternity care that deserve discussion.

"For the College of Midwives to issue a press release about an obviously mocked-up cover image seems to be side-stepping the debate."

A spokeswoman for the College of Midwives said Ms Campbell was unavailable for comment today.

She had no immediate plans to debate the content of the

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article, the spokeswoman said.