Advocates are marking International Midwives Day by asserting we need the profession today more than ever.
The New Zealand Nurses Organisation represents 700 New Zealand midwives who support thousands of women every year through pregnancy and birth.
The organisation says the care midwives provide is critical for healthy mothers and babies.
Professional services manager Susanne Trim says midwives do a wonderful job.
"And they're there at sometimes the happiest times of people's lives, coaching people, supporting women and their partners and support people through that absolutely wonderful time of giving birth."
Ms Trim says there has been debate about closing the inpatient maternity service in Whanganui because of recruiting difficulties.
"This would mean that women would have to travel to Mid-Central if there was any complication in their pregnancy which is a long distance away, obviously not ideal for women."
The Organisation says such situations would also mean women won't know whether their midwife will be available in a different city, which causes them significant stress.
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