National | Hauora

New initiative launched by former Miss Universe NZ to help first time māmā

Former Miss Universe NZ Harlem-Cruz Atarangi-Ihaia is the ambassador for a lockdown initiative called Hapū Māmā. Expecting her first child, she is encouraging other māmās to get in touch with care practitioners in their areas. She wants other mothers to know there is help out there for them.

"The kaupapa of Hapu Māmā is to connect māmā with their GP or midwives and get the same regular treatment that you would get if the whole COVID thing wasn't happening," Atarangi-Ihaia says.

The idea is to remove any barriers for expectant mothers to get the right treatment during early pregnancy.

"For people that may not even know they are pregnant in the first trimester, it's the most important time you need to get your blood tests and ultrasounds."

Dr Leigh Duncan, who works for the Hawke's Bay DHB says, "The sooner we can get in touch with you the better and we can help explain everything that is happening and also the non-Covid problems with pregnancy."

The care expectant mothers will receive is treatment over the phone and, only if needed, face-to-face as well. Dr Leigh Duncan says some people are putting off connecting to care practitioners because of coronavirus anxiety.

"The hapū māmā that don't want to go through that can call their general practitioners or call midwives and they can be connected not only to the obstetric side of health care but all the support networks that are available," Dr Duncan says.

It is an iwi lead initiative through Ngāti Pahauwera, clinicians and researchers aimed at expectant mothers around the country.