Maternity care in New Zealand is provided free of charge to residents or those who have a two year or longer working visa. The system is woman/family/whanau focussed, with informed consent being the basis of any decisions regarding care. We encourage you to take part in this process and read widely from many sources to make decisions about what you want for you and your baby during your pregnancy and labour. Of course his also means taking responsibility for those decisions.
The professionals who provide maternity care are called Lead Maternity Carers (LMC’s). A LMC may be a midwife, a general practitioner, or an obstetrician. You choose an LMC to provide your care from the beginning of pregnancy through until 4 weeks after the baby is born. You are able to change your LMC at any time through the pregnancy, or postnatal (after the baby is born) period.
A midwife LMC is able to send you for blood tests and scans and to prescribe medications related to pregnancy, and if all is well, you will not see a doctor. Midwives provide care to woman having a normal pregnancy. If any complications arise during the pregnancy, we will either admit you to the hospital under the care of an obstetrician, or ask you to attend a hospital clinic appointment so that we can consult with an obstetrician to make a plan for the rest of your pregnancy. If complications arise during labour and birth, we will consult the obstetrician on call at the hospital. These referrals and consultations are free to you. You will be asked to sign an LMC form at your booking appointment. This means that your LMC is now formally responsible for your care and is able to request scans, blood tests and prescribe medications for you and to co-ordinate your care. Because maternity care is government funded they collect (and you agree by signing the LMC form) statistical information about each pregnancy episode e.g. the number of scans, number of visits to the LMC, Breast feeding or not etc. signing the LMC form also enables us to be paid! The booklet “Your Pregnancy” is a guide to pregnancy care in New Zealand.