The Parents Centre Group is New Zealand’s leading and expert providers of pregnancy and childbirth education.
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Parents Centre New Zealand has a long, proud history. The first Parents Centre movement began in 1952, this was due to huge demand for the improvement of birthing practices for women and both antenatal and post natal care for parents.
Parents Centres origions began at a time when 78% of births were in maternity hospitals with doctors in attendance. This practise was in place to monitor what was a rising concern for maternal and infant mortality rate.
The benifits of this were overshadowed by hospitals that were run on authoritive, rigid lines and the care that was given was impersonal. Giving birth was often horrendous for women as they had little or no contol on what went on during their time in hospital. The time spent in hospital following birth proved difficult for establishing bonds between mother and baby which also impacted on breastfeeding.
Postnatal baby care was the under the sole authority of the Plunket Society. By the late 1940's this was run primarily by older, single women who used rigid practices. Although mothers appreciated the support they got, many found it hard to live up to the expectations of the plunket nurse had of how their baby should develop or bahave. Mothers also found it difficult to keep up with strict nursery routines, 24 hour feeding, early toilet training and no night feeding.
From this time the pioneers of the Parents Centre movement where created. Unhappy with the practice for childbirth in New Zealand Dr Maurice Bevan-Brown, a New Zealand born phsyciatrist, joined forces with kindred spirit Dr Enid Cook. Dr Maurice Bevan-Brown was an advocate for a more relaxed style of parenting which focused on the individual needs of the child, rather than sticking to a strict routine. Dr Enid Cook focused on informing parents-to-be about a natural approach to childbirth.
Although the medical profession were skeptical of their ideas, they proved to make a lasting impression on the people who became the founders of the Parents Centre movement. Among them were Helen and Quenten Brew. To sum up Helen Brew, she was a woman with tremendous drive and determination. She was passionate about natural childbirth and the need for more loving and knowledgable parenting. From this came the Natural Childbirth Group, which was to become Wellington Parents Centre in June 1952.
Parents Centre is a nationwide organisation established by parents for parents. Each centre is organised by a local volunteer committee of parents who plan and run pogrammes to meet the needs of their own communtity.