Lead maternity carers and midwives
Your Lead Maternity Carer
As soon as you know you're pregnant you need to choose a lead maternity carer (LMC).
Most LMCs are midwives, and some GPs and obstetricians are also LMCs.
Women who are eligible for publicly-funded health services receive free maternity care from LMCs in the Nelson Marlborough region.
Your LMC will:
- monitor your health and the baby’s wellbeing during pregnancy and refer you for free ultrasound scans
- provide information about choices you can make, for example where to have your baby
- care for you during labour and birth and for the first 4-6 weeks after your baby is born.
Midwives are experts in normal pregnancy and childbirth and can provide all of your maternity care when your pregnancy, childbirth and post-natal period are normal. Our local midwives work in partnership with women and their families in a relationship based on trust, shared decision making and responsibility, negotiation and shared understanding.
Midwives work closely with community organisations such as:
- Tamariki Ora services
- general practices (medical centres)
- social workers
- breastfeeding and postnatal depression support groups
If your midwife is concerned about the wellbeing of you or your baby at any time, she will refer you to an obstetrician at either Nelson or Wairau hospital for advice or medical care. See our Specialist maternity services page for more information about specialist care.
How to find a midwife
You don’t need a referral from your GP to book in with a LMC midwife.
To find a LMC midwife please visit: www.findyourmidwife.co.nz
If you are unable to find a midwife or need some advice or assistance please call:
- Wairau Hospital Maternity Unit on (03) 520 9979
- Nelson Hospital Maternity Unit on (03) 546 1437
- Golden Bay midwives on 0800 TAKAMW
What to expect from your midwife
Respectful treatment: Supportive care that respects you, your family and whanau, your culture and beliefs and your informed decisions about tests, recommendations and interventions.
Personal attention: Caring attention to develop a trusting and nurturing relationship with you and your whanau to help you to labour and give birth safely, and to help you, your partner and whanau with the transition to motherhood and parenting.
Plenty of information: About pregnancy, birth and the weeks afterwards, including breastfeeding and care of your baby.
Professional care: Regular and thorough check-ups for you and your baby throughout your pregnancy, during labour, and after the birth.
Coping with the pain of labour: Midwives have expertise in labour and birth and will be able to provide you with support and assistance, or consult with specialist doctors, when needed.
Continuity of care throughout the whole experience: Midwives offer care from early pregnancy up to six weeks after the birth of your baby.
For more information visit the New Zealand College of Midwives website.
Questions to ask your LMC
Ask your LMC about:
- their qualifications and experience – particularly if you have any risk factors (such as high blood pressure or previous complicated births)
- (if relevant to you) their experience at home births, systems for dealing with complications and system for obtaining help
- their arrangements to cover time-off and holidays. You may wish to meet your LMC's locum or back-up midwife.
- (if your LMC is a GP or obstetrician) who will attend your labour and birth? Who will provide your home visits?
Page last updated: 03/07/2019