I'm pregnant - what choices do I have about my pregnancy care?
The first health professional you see in your pregnancy is required to provide you with information regarding the options you have for an LMC and place of birth.
Independent/ Self-employed Midwife:
- Independent/ Self-employed midwives are registered with the New Zealand Midwifery Council as a practitioner of the profession of midwifery and hold an annual practicing certificate
- Provides care for normal pregnancy and birth
- Can provide all your care during pregnancy, labour and birth and for the first 4 - 6 weeks after your baby is born.
- Maternity care provided by independent/ self-employed midwives is free of charge for New Zealand residents (see: Cost of Maternity Care).
- Obstetricians are registered with the Medical Council of New Zealand in the vocational scope of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and hold an annual practicing certificate
- Specialises in complications during pregnancy and birth. To receive free care from an obstetrician you must be referred by a midwife or GP. Guidelines for referring LMCs are available here
- Private obstetricians can also provide normal maternity care. There are charges for this service
- An obstetrician will attend part of the labour and birth and shares care in the six weeks following birth with a GP. You will also need midwifery care during this time. You can choose to receive midwifery care from an independent midwife or hospital midwifery team. Your obstetrician will advise you on your options.
Public Hospital Team:
- All your pregnancy, labour and birth care can be provided at a maternity hospital or a maternity unit by:
- Hospital based midwives, or
- The hospital maternity team.
Family Doctor (GP):
- Currently only a few GPs in NZ attend births and those who do, generally prioritise their enrolled patients. Some GPs only provide care during pregnancy and do not provide care during labour and birth. In this instance they cannot be your LMC.
- Family Doctors (GPs) who attend births are registered with the Medical Council of New Zealand in the vocational scope of General Practice and hold an annual practicing certificate. They must hold a Diploma in Obstetrics (or equivalent, as determined by the New Zealand College of General Practitioners).
- Provides care for normal pregnancy and birth and for some medical problems complicating pregnancy.
- Will attend part of the labour and birth. You will also need midwifery care during this time. You can choose to receive midwifery care from an independent midwife or hospital midwifery team. Your GP will advise you on your options.