Longreach welcomed its first baby this year on January 6, when little Maddison Grace was born to local residents Shelley and David Carr.
Maddison is their second child and is sister to older sibling, Emily.
Ms Carr said she was very happy to be able to have the birth in her home community with the support of the Longreach Hospital maternity team.
“In these uncertain times, I am really happy not to have to travel away for birthing services,’’ she said.
“I couldn’t have hoped for a better experience.’’
Longreach Hospital Maternal and Child Services Manager Meri Howden said the maternity unit was thrilled to be able to support the Carr family as they welcomed their second child and the unit’s first baby of 2022.
“It’s always exciting to be at work in the New Year, at a time of renewal and new starts,’’ she said.
“We have such a supportive specialist, medical and midwifery team here that can provide holistic maternity services to the entire family during these challenging times.’’
Ms Howden said Maddison was one of two babies born at Longreach so far this month.
Last year, the Longreach Hospital maternity unit recorded 63 births.
“On average, about 60 babies a year at born at Longreach Hospital,’’ Ms Howden said.
“We had 57 births in 2020, 62 in 2019, and 61 in 2018; we had a surge in birthing numbers early last year, which was undoubtedly
connected to the pandemic lockdown in early 2020.
“But then things settled down a bit for the rest of the year, although we did end up with a higher
overall birth total than normal.”
Ms Howden said she believed some mums who might otherwise have travelled outside the region to give birth
decided it was safer to stay within the Central West and birth here at our excellent birthing unit, and this added to our overall birthing total last year.
“I think this trend may continue during 2022 with more women deciding to stay and birth in the Central West.’’
Ms Howden said the Central West Health maternity service operated as a Midwifery Group Practice, where each woman was assigned a known midwife who would provide most of her care pre, during, and post-birth.
“The maternity service midwifery staff are supported by allied health professionals and General
Practitioners with specialist training in obstetrics,’’ she said.
“In addition to our Longreach Midwifery Group Practice midwives at the birthing unit, our Central West Health midwives also provide outreach ante and postnatal services throughout the region, as does our partner the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
“Our Child Health team also plays a big part in our comprehensive service.’’
The Longreach Hospital maternity unit offers three single ensuite rooms, a birth suite, a maternity assessment room, a nursery, and an equipment room.
“Importantly, the birthing suite also allows space for the family to be with a woman and the birthing team during the birth of a baby if they choose,’’ Ms Howden said.
“We also have on-site accommodation at no cost at Longreach Hospital for women in the lead-
up to giving birth from 36 weeks onwards. This is particularly convenient for women who live away from Longreach.’’