Te manaaki i te hunga hapū Lead maternity carers

It is important to feel comfortable with the person who will care for you during your pregnancy, when you are having your pēpi, and in the early days of your parenting. This person is your lead maternity carer (a midwife or doctor).

Cost of maternity care

Choose a lead maternity carer

A lead maternity carer is the midwife or doctor who will look after you and your pēpi. When you find out you are pregnant you should choose 1 as early as possible. This is very important for your health and for your pēpi.

Your lead maternity carer will:

  • look after you while you you are pregnant
  • look after you during labour and birth
  • give you the information you need to make decisions around your pregnancy and birth
  • care for you and your pēpi until your pēpi is 6 weeks old
  • be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for urgent care.

Take any questions to your visits, or contact them during working hours. If you have an urgent concern, contact them immediately, at any time. 

Find a midwife or doctor

To find a midwife or doctor in your area, talk to your healthcare provider. You can also visit the Find Your Midwife website.

Find Your Midwife (external link)

    • Will you be my only carer, or will others be involved? Many midwives and specialist doctors work in teams. If your main carer is a specialist doctor you will see a midwife as well while you are in labour and giving birth, and in the early weeks after giving birth.
    • How can I contact you if I need help or advice in and out of normal working hours?
    • Are you taking leave in the month or months before or after my pēpi is due?
    • Who will provide backup care for me if you cannot be there?
    • What choices do you offer for where I give birth, for example, hospital, birthing unit, home birth, water birth?
    • Where will I see you for my pregnancy check-up visits? Will you visit me in my home or will I go to a clinic?
    • How many visits can I expect to have? Will you visit me at home in early labour?
    • What happens if you are away or with someone else when I go into labour?
    • Will I be able to meet your backup midwife or doctor?
    • What happens if I need specialist care during my pregnancy or my labour? If this happens, will you continue to care for me?
    • Who will be caring for me after the birth — in hospital and when I go home? If I stay in hospital, what will your role be?
    • After my pēpi is born, how many visits can I expect, in hospital and at home, and for how many weeks?
    • Between visits, are you available for me to phone you for advice?
    • Can I give feedback on the care you provide to me?
    • How would you describe the maternity care that you give in pregnancy, labour and birth, and postnatally?
    • What is your philosophy about childbirth?
    • What is your experience and about how many births a year do you attend?
    • How many other people have you got booked who are due about the same time as me?
    • Will I have to pay? If so, for what, how much and when?
    • Who will be my midwife during labour?
    • Can I meet the midwife who will care for me during labour?
    • Who will visit me at home when I go home from hospital?

Responsibilities of lead maternity carers

Your doctor or midwife will:

  • work with you to develop a birth plan
  • talk to you about staying healthy
  • be with you during your labour and birth — if your carer is a doctor, they will arrange a midwife for the labour
  • refer you or your pēpi to specialist support if needed
  • visit you, or arrange for you to be visited, at the hospital and in your home at least 7 times after your pēpi is born
  • refer you to your chosen Well Child Tamariki Ora provider after the birth
  • help you to enrol your pēpi at a general practice for doctor and practice nurse services.

Visits with your lead maternity carer

Your midwife or doctor will see you throughout your pregnancy, and they will:

  • feel your tummy to check baby’s growth, position and heartbeat
  • take your blood pressure
  • test your wee (mimi).

Screening tests

They will also offer screening tests and scans to check that both you and your pēpi are healthy and well. If you choose to have the tests and scans, they will arrange them for you and explain your results.

Pregnancy and newborning screening — National Screening Unit (external link)

How often you will have visits

Your midwife or doctor will explain how often they will need to see you. These visits may be able to take place:

  • in your home
  • at a clinic
  • on the marae
  • in a hospital.

Relationship with your lead maternity carer

Maternity care is a partnership between you and your lead maternity carer. They look after you and your baby's physical health, but they also:

  • support your emotional and mental health
  • help you to feel confident about your pregnancy, birth, and early parenting.

Share your preferences, health history and any ongoing concerns with your midwife or doctor.

They should involve your whānau and support people if that is what you want. 

Changing your lead maternity carer

Most people find it important to have the same person:

  • throughout pregnancy
  • during labour and birth
  • after your pēpi is born.

But, you can change the person who is looking after you and your pēpi at any time.

Your choices during pregnancy

For some people pregnancy can be a difficult time. You may need someone to talk to or you may want some specific support. Your midwife or your doctor will be able to talk to you about any issues you face.

If you want to know more about abortion:

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