Frequently Asked Questions

When should I book a midwife?
It is important to book a midwife before 12 weeks of your pregnancy as she will want to advise of your options for screening for chromosomal abnormalities and organise this testing for you if you choose.

What is the role of my midwife?
Your midwife is there to support you to have a safe and healthy pregnancy. She will monitor your progress at regular antenatal visits and order any necessary scans and blood tests. If your midwife detects any problems during pregnancy, labour, or in the post natal period, she will refer you to the relevant health care professional who will also provide input into your plan of care.

What can I expect at my booking visit?
Your midwife will take a health history and an obstetric history if appropriate. She will discuss your options for maternity care, her role as your Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) and lifestyle, dietary and self care choices in your pregnancy. She will also discuss relevant blood tests and scans and arrange these for you.

How often do I see my midwife?
After the booking visit just before 12 weeks, you can expect to see your midwife again at around 18 weeks gestation. From here you will see your midwife every 4 weeks until around thirty weeks, then fortnightly or three weekly till around 37 weeks, then weekly until you have birthed. If you have any complications during your pregnancy your midwife may arrange to see you more often.

What can I expect at follow up visits?
At every visit your midwife will check your blood pressure and check the well-being of your baby by listening to the foetal heart and measuring the growth of your baby. She may also get you to do a urine test at each visit from after 20 weeks as this can indicate if any complications are developing. Your midwife will discuss your general well-being and address any concerns.

Do I have to pay?
Maternity care is free for all New Zealand citizens. You are also eligible for free care if you are a permanent resident or if you have a current 2 year work permit.

What happens if my midwife is not available?
Your midwife is required to provide you with urgent pregnancy and labour care 24/7. If your midwife is unavailable because she is on time off or she is busy due to other birthing commitments she will arrange for you to contact a back-up midwife. You will be given the back-up midwife’s contact details and you will be introduced to the back-up during your antenatal visits so that she is also familiar to you. 

How will I know if I am in labour?
Your midwife will provide you with options for child birthing classes in your local area. Most women having first babies book in for classes which start at around 30 weeks gestation. At these classes you will be given information about all aspects of birthing and what to expect in the first, second and third stages of labour, including signs of labour starting and when to call your midwife etc.

When will I do a birth plan?
At around 36 weeks gestation your midwife will do an individual birth plan with you. This plan will document when to call the midwife, your choices for pain relief and your preferences during and after delivery of your baby, including positions for birthing and whether or not you want to breastfeed.

Who will birth me?
Your midwife will birth you unless there are complications during your labour that indicate the necessity for an instrumental or operative birth in which case the on call obstetrician will be asked to assess you and plan further care.

How long can I stay in hospital after I have birthed?
If you have had a normal vaginal birth you are entitled to stay in the post natal ward for 2 days from the time you birth. The length of time you stay is negotiated with your midwife as you may wish to go home earlier than this, or you may need to stay longer due to post natal complications with you or baby  
What happens if I have complications during the pregnancy or delivery?
If you midwife is concerned at any time with the progress of your pregnancy or labour or the well being of your baby, she will not hesitate to seek the advice of the obstetrician.  The obstetrician will assess any problems and make a plan of care for you. Your midwife will be advised of this plan and will follow up on the obstetrician’s advice.

How will I know how to breastfeed?
If you attend antenatal classes you will get plenty of education and advice about breastfeeding. There are also a number of breastfeeding classes available in the community and you can ask your midwife about these. While you are on the postnatal ward you will receive assistance and advice about correctly latching and feeding your baby and during your postnatal visits your midwife will provide you with on-going advice and support to ensure feeding becomes established. 

How long will my midwife visit me after I have birthed?
Your midwife will visit you each day you are in hospital and will come and see you at home every second day in the first week after birth. Once breastfeeding is established and if you and your baby are doing well, your midwife will do weekly visits for up to 6weeks after which time Plunket will visit.