Health and wellbeing

Birth numbers hit a new high at Leongatha

New mums at GSHS, Melissa McRae and Roslyn Wyatt, welcome new lives into the world

Births at Gippsland Southern Health Service (GSHS) have hit record levels, with more than 200 babies being delivered in the past financial year.

The 210 births mark a significant increase on the previous two financial years where 164 and 175 babies arrived. They also surpass the previous two years when 199 and 197 births were recorded.

Nurse unit manager for the General Ward, which covers maternity services, Neil Langstaff, said GSHS enjoyed a good reputation for low-risk births and was popular with parents.

“We’ve got a great staff who do a great job in delivering low-risk births and working with women to provide the type of birth and care and services that they want,” Mr Langstaff said.

However, he was unsure why there’s been a sudden rush of babies. “I don’t know what the reason is; maybe COVID has something to do with it?” he joked.

The busiest month of the year was May with 25 births. Eighteen babies were delivered in June.

The baby rush is continuing in the new financial year, with Melissa McRae giving birth to her third child, Letti, at Leongatha this month.

Letti joins older brothers Codi and Riley with dad Shaun and Mrs McRae says maternity services at GSHS continue to provide excellent care.

“This is my third and it has always been a great place to give birth,” she said. “I’ve had one emergency and two elective caesareans and each time, everyone was very helpful, caring and nurturing.”

Fellow new mum Roslyn Wyatt echoed those thoughts after giving birth with dad Tom to Grace, who joins older sister Elsie.

“It has been incredible,” she said. “We felt like we received private care in a public hospital. The staff took really good care of us and it was very personal.”

“We felt very lucky to have this service.”

Mr Langstaff said GSHS’s maternity services had a valuable role in the community. “We’re always willing to challenge ourselves to meet the needs of mothers, as long as we can do it safely,” he said.

Mothers considered to be higher risk are referred to specialist care at a tertiary centre such as Warragul or Traralgon, with GPs and an obstetrician from Monash Medical Centre involved in discussion to determine if they are safe to give birth in Leongatha.

“GP obstetricians work well with midwives and obstetricians who are available for consultation and help in some instances,” Mr Langstaff said.

Like many hospitals in regional Victoria, GSHS continues to look to recruit new midwives to bolster its maternity services.

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