About maternity care providers

Finding a maternity care provider
Who can be a Lead Maternity Carer
A Midwife
A Family Doctor (General Practitioner)
A Private Obstetrician
A Hospital team
What services do Lead Maternity Carers Provide?
Questions you can ask to help you choose a LMC
Choosing an Lead Maternity Carer (LMC)

Finding a maternity care provider

In New Zealand every pregnant woman is expected to choose a Lead Maternity Carer (LMC). The first health care provider you see during your pregnancy is required to give you information about your options for care provider and place of birth. You can also get information about the maternity care providers in you area by contacting MAMA or the nationwide information service for maternity consumers 0800 MUM 2 Be (0800 686 223)

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Who can be a Lead Maternity Carer?

A Midwife, Doctor (GP), Obstetrician or a hospital based team can be an LMC.

A Midwife

  • specialises in providing maternity care for women experiencing uncomplicated pregnancies, labours and births and provides care for mothers and babies in the first month after the birth.
  • can provide all your care during pregnancy, labour and birth and after your baby is born
  • can provide care for women who have complications during pregnancy and/or labour with either a private obstetrician or a hospital based obstetrician.

All maternity care provided by a midwife is free

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A family Doctor (General Practitioner)

  • can provide maternity care for women experiencing uncomplicated pregnancies and for those experiencing some medical problems that can complicate pregnancy.
  • shares care during labour and birth with either a hospital midwife or an independent midwife.
  • shares care for you and your baby after you've given birth with either a visiting midwife from the hospital or an independent midwife.

All maternity care provided by a doctor is free

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A private Obstetrician

  • specialises in providing care for women who are experiencing complications during their pregnancies, labours and births
    can also provide care for women who expect to have an uncomplicated pregnancy and birth
  • shares care during labour and birth with either a hospital midwife or an independent midwife
  • shares care for you and your baby after you've given birth with either a visiting midwife from the hospital or an independent midwife.

You will usually be required to pay for maternity care provided by a private obstetrician.

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A Hospital Team

All your care during pregnancy, labour and birth and after you've given birth can be provided by a hospital team based at a maternity hospital or community clinic.

A midwifery team

  • can provide maternity care for women experiencing uncomplicated pregnancies, labours and births and provides care for mothers and babies in the first month after the birth. These midwifery teams are often called KYM (Know Your Midwife), DOMINO, or Continuity of Care team.

A team of obstetricians and midwives

  • provides care for women who are experiencing complications during their pregnancies, labours and births.
  • provides care for women and their babies for a month after the birth, both and in hospital and at home.
  • can also provide care for women who expect to have an uncomplicated pregnancy and birth.

All care provided by a hospital based team is free

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What services do Lead Maternity Carers provide?

The LMC you register with is required to take responsibility for all your maternity care from confirmation of pregnancy through to when your baby is 4 weeks old.

Your LMC will provide all your care during your pregnancy and will refer you to specialist providers for any tests, treatments or care for complications that may be necessary.

Your LMC will help you to write up a Care Plan which records all the choices you make for your care during pregnancy, labour and birth and after your baby is born. This Care Plan can be updated or changed at your request and/or as necessary at any visit with your LMC

Your LMC (or a suitable back-up LMC) will be available 7 days per week to provide telephone advice and/or attend for any urgent problems that may arise.

Your LMC is required to make every effort to be available during your labour and to attend your baby's birth. (If your LMC cannot be available during your labour and birth s/he must make arrangements with a back-up maternity care provider who is acceptable to you.)

If your LMC is not a midwife s/he must arrange for suitable midwifery care for you during your labour and birth and ensure that the midwife/midwifery service providing this care has an up-to-date copy of your Care Plan.

If your LMC is not a midwife s/he must arrange for a midwife, who is acceptable to you, to visit you at home at least 5 times to provide care for you and your baby after you've given birth. Your LMC must provide this midwife with an up-to-date copy of your Care Plan.

Your LMC is responsible for ensuring that you and your baby receive postnatal care visits at hospital and/or home for approximately 4 weeks after you've given birth. Your LMC must make sure that you are given assistance with and advice about breastfeeding, recovery following labour and birth, looking after your baby, postnatal depression, immunisation and contraception. S/he must also make sure that you have chosen someone to provide Well Child Care (e.g. Plunket, Tamariki Ora, Family GP) for your baby after they reach about 4 weeks of age.

Even if your LMC is not providing home visits after your baby is born, s/he must be available for consultation or treatment should you request it.

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Questions you can ask to help you choose an LMC

Will you provide all my care during pregnancy, labour and birth and after my baby is born? (This is called full continuity of care)

If you do not provide full continuity of care who else will be involved in my pregnancy care, during my labour and birth and after my baby is born and will I get to meet these care providers during my pregnancy?

Do you work by yourself, in partnership with another LMC or as part of a group maternity care practice?

Will I have to pay for any of the maternity services I need?

Who will provide back-up care if you are not available for any reason and approximately how often do your clients need to be cared for by your back-up because you are not available?

Will I have an opportunity to meet the person who would provide back-up care?

How many other women will you provide care for whose babies are due in the same month as mine?

Do you take regular time-off (e.g. weekends) and have you made plans to go on holiday during the months that I will be needing maternity care especially around my due date?

Approximately how many pregnancy check-up visits can I expect to have with you and do I visit you at your consulting rooms or do you visit me at my home?

What system do you prefer to use to write up a Care Plan with me?

If I choose you to be my LMC where can l give birth public hospital/maternity unit (e.g. National Womens, North Shore, Waitakere, Helensville, Middlemore, Botany Downs, Pukekohe) private maternity hospital (e.g. Birth Care)?

Do you attend homebirths?

Are you experienced in assisting with waterbirths?

If I stay in hospital or in a maternity unit after I've given birth will you visit me?

Who will visit me and my baby at home after I've given birth and how many home visits can I expect?

If you have any strong beliefs or views about pregnancy and childbirth etc make sure that your LMC is able to provide care which is compatible with these.

If you have any special needs or requirements (e.g. health, cultural, religious needs) for maternity care can the LMC provide for these?

You can also ask any LMC if s/he participates in an annual professional review or audit process for the maternity services they provide. Who is responsible for this process and what does it involve? If not, why not?

You should choose an LMC who you feel will act at all times in partnership with you, assist you to make informed choices about your care and respect the decisions you make.

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Choosing a Lead Maternity Carer (LMC)

Contact some LMCs who work near where you live or work and ask them if they have bookings available around the time your baby is due to be born. Arrange a meeting with an LMC you like the sound of. You can make appointments to see one or more potential LMCs during the first 14 weeks of your pregnancy so that you can choose the person you feel is best able to provide care that meets your needs.

It is important that you feel relaxed and easily able to talk to your LMC. You should also have confidence that s/he can provide high quality maternity care.

When you are 15+ weeks pregnant, the care provider you have chosen will ask you to sign a form which states that you have chosen to register with this health professional to provide you with Lead Maternity Carer services.

The LMC you choose is responsible for ensuring that you get all the care you need during your pregnancy, labour and birth and after you've given birth. If you choose a midwife or GP and complications arise your care may be transferred to an obstetrician until things return to normal.

You can choose to change to another Lead Maternity Carer at any time.

If you need more information to help you choose a Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) or the names of LMCs in your area, contact MAMA Maternity Information Services

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