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how to find a midwife or lead maternity carer LMC

How to find a midwife in New Zealand

After sharing Our Struggle to Find a Midwife, I have put together a guide on how to find a midwife in New Zealand. This guide has some information specific to NZ, but much of it will be applicable wherever you live, and the questions to ask your midwife are universal.

When you find out you are pregnant you should choose an LMC (lead maternity carer) as soon as possible (see also What to do when you find out you’re pregnant). This is very important for your health and for your baby. Most women choose a midwife but you may wish to choose an obstetrician. Using an obstetrician costs approximately $5-7,000, whereas pregnancy care by Midwives in New Zealand is free. If your midwife discovers any complications during your pregnancy, you will be referred to an obstetrician and the remainder of your care with them will be free of charge.

The quickest way to find a Midwife in New Zealand visit Find Your Midwife which is an online search tool. You could also talk to your doctor or nurse about finding a midwife in your area, or visit the maternity part of your hospital and be taken care by hospital/community midwives during your pregnancy.

Your midwife or obstetrician is there to support you during your pregnancy until around 6 weeks post-partum. The frequency with which you see them increases as the pregnancy develops, so it is important that you choose someone you feel comfortable with.

How to Find a Midwife in New Zealand using Find Your Midwife online search tool:

  • Enter your area you live in and your approximate due date (if you know it).
    This will create a list of midwives in the area holding a current annual practicing certificate and are members of the New Zealand College of Midwives. Select a midwife close to where you live, as your midwife will visit you at home after your baby is born.
  • You can use additional filters to narrow the search: Where you plan to have your baby, language requirements and whether you prefer a Maori or Pasifika midwife.
  • The calendar lets you know which midwives are available the month you are due. 
  • Read more about your midwife on their profile and choose the midwife that feels like a good match for you. You can contact the midwife by phone or using the contact form.

How to find a Midwife in New Zealand: A list of questions

You may be referred to a midwife or specialist doctor by a friend or whānau, in which case you could also ask them about their experience and advice. If you have a ‘made with love’ pregnancy journal you will see these questions and more.

You can change your LMC (the person who is looking after you) at any time during your pregnancy. However, in most cases many couples want to have the same LMC throughout pregnancy, birth and after their baby is born.

Your first question will of course be whether the midwife or LMC has capacity to take you on.

  • Will you be my only carer? (Some midwives work in teams. If your LMC is a doctor you will see midwives as well during labour and birth, and probably see them exclusively after birth). If you can’t be there on the day, who will give backup care for me, and should I meet them earlier?
  • When and how can I contact you?
  • What do you offer for where I give birth (eg, which hospitals, maternity units, birthing unit (i.e. Birthcare), home birth, or water birth)? Some midwives will not offer water births, some will only work at certain hospitals, and home births will always require the presence of a second midwife.
  • Where will I see you for my pregnancy check-up visits? Will you come to my home?
  • How many visits will I have for each trimester? Will you come to me at home during early labour?
  • Between each visit, are you available for me to text or call you for advice?
  • What is your stance around childbirth and medications?
  • How many women have you booked around the same time as me?

Further questions if you considering choosing an Obstetrician Doctor to provide your care

  • How much will I have to pay and when?
  • What do you offer for where I give birth (eg, which hospitals, maternity units, birthing unit, home birth, or water birth)? Doctors may not offer all birth options, some will only work at certain hospitals.
  • 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 – will it be the same midwife as during the birth?

I hope this guide helps you Find a midwife in New Zealand, but don’t be afraid to get in touch if you’re having trouble.

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