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Rights to Healthcare – Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond

Choosing a Lead Maternity Carer (LMC)

By 10-12 weeks, your pregnant patient should choose and register with one of the following as her LMC:

  • An independent community-based midwife
  • A hospital based midwife (sometimes called Domino or Know Your Midwife [KYM])
  • A General Practitioner with hospital midwives attending the birth and giving postnatal care
  • A hospital maternity team of midwives and doctors
  • A private obstetrician (with hospital or independent midwives attending birth and giving postnatal care)

This LMC is expected to provide and arrange for all maternity care, monitoring mother and baby’s health,  ordering tests as appropriate, discussing  nutrition, exercise, labour and birth, pain relief, immunisation etc.  They should be available 24 hours per day or give an alternative contact.  He/she can refer the patient to a specialist if needed.

0800 MUM 2 BE

The 0800 MUM 2 BE Maternity Consumer phone line is run by the Ministry of Health.

The 0800 line supplies lists of Lead Maternity Carers (LMCs) for requested areas. For maternity consumers requiring information regarding pregnancy care and other information contacts, the Your Pregnancy booklet is available.

LMCs and Medical Centres can obtain the Your Pregnancy booklet through their local Public Health Provider or order online at www.healthed.govt.nz

The phone line does not give counselling, midwifery or medical advice.

Cost of Care

If the patient has NZ citizenship or residency, most care is free.  This can include specialist visits if the LMC deems these essential. If your patient does not have residency yet, a midwife or doctor may agree to give free care on the understanding that if the child is bom in NZ (thereby a NZ citizen) the LMC may receive payment from the HFA (Health Funding Authority) for antenatal, birth and postnatal care of this patient.

There may also be NZHPA member who is willing to provide discounted or free care for a patient who does not have residency and is unlikely to be able to cover the costs of their care. For more information please get in contact with us here.

A pregnant woman may, however, be charged for the following:

  • A negative pregnancy urine test
  • An ultrasound scan
  • Visits to a private obstetrician
  • Care at a private maternity hospital
  • Some tests at a private laboratory
  • Childbirth education classes
  • Transfer from home to hospital or from one hospital to another by ambulance.

Childbirth & Parenting Classes

Some of these are free; some have a cost. Some are daytime; some evening. Most encourage partner/husband/support person to come as well.  May be offered by:

  • Private childbirth educators
  • Marae-based or other Maori organisations
  • Some independent midwives
  • Maternity hospitals
  • Organisations such as Parents’ Centre, Home Birth Association, Plunket
  • Pacific Islands midwives
  • College evening classes

Where To Give Birth

Your patient will have a choice, depending on where she lives and her medical history, of the following places to give birth:

  • Home, attended by her midwife or GP
  • Small maternity unit, attended by her independent midwife, GP or hospital midwife on duty
  • Large maternity hospital, attended by an independent midwife or the hospital team on duty
  • Private maternity hospital if there is one nearby

Note: Midwives are licensed to perform deliveries at particular hospitals only.  Tell your patient to
check that her midwife has access to the hospital where she wants to register. Also, your patient may choose                                        which support people will be with her through labour and whether her other children
are present (except when surgery or emergency procedures are needed).

Postnatal Care

Free midwifery care is provided after a home birth or after leaving hospital usually for 5-10 home
visits. A six week check up is provided by the GP and may include the first vaccination if the parent
so chooses.  When the baby is four to six weeks old continuing free health care is given under the Well Child or Tamariki Ora Program.

Providers include:

  • Plunket nurses and Family Care Centres
  • Public health nurses
  • Doctors
  • Practice nurses
  • Kaitiaki, Kaiawhina, Whanau Ora, Tipu Ora