MPs have been told that incentives should be considered to encourage pregnant women in South Auckland to seek ante-natal care earlier.
Parliament's health select committee was briefed on Wednesday on the findings of a review of maternity care in the Counties Manakau district.
The report released in October last year identified an unacceptably high number of deaths before birth and soon afterwards of babies in the district.
Its authors told MPs just 16% of women in Counties Manukau receive ante-natal care within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.
Medical specialist Professor Lesley McCowan said this must change and incentives such as food vouchers, gifts and free dental care should be considered.