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About midwifery

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Midwives are registered health professionals whose expertise is providing care to women and their babies during pregnancy, labour and birth and the first six weeks after birth.

Midwives practise in a variety of settings including the home, the community, hospitals, birthing units or in any other maternity services. Midwives who work in hospitals, as “core midwives” work rostered shifts to provide 24 hour care while women are inpatients. Core midwives work alongside their Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) colleagues and other health professionals to ensure women receive the care that meets their needs.

Click here if you would like to read about the definition and Scope of Practice of midwives

Midwives complete a Bachelor of Midwifery degree in order to gain the knowledge, skills and experience to provide safe and professional midwifery care. Once qualified midwives are then registered with the Midwifery Council of New Zealand and are required to have an Annual Practising Certificate. New graduate midwives are supported in their first year of practice by mentor midwives in a defined practice programme (Midwifery First Year of Practice Programme).

New Zealand midwives work in a partnership model of care with women. In this model each woman and her midwife are partners, working together to ensure that the woman has care that best meets her individual needs.

Midwives provide free maternity care to all eligible women in New Zealand and the vast majority of New Zealand women have a midwife as their Lead Maternity Carer. LMC midwives work with other members of the health care team if women need additional care during pregnancy, labour and birth or the postnatal period.

Midwifery Care

Midwife means ‘with women’

Midwifery care is the provision of knowledge, advice, care and support to women and their families during pregnancy, labour and birth and the early weeks following birth.

Midwives: providing safe outcomes for women and babies

The World Health Organization states that… ‘the midwife is the most appropriate and cost effective type of health care provider to be assigned to the care of normal pregnancy and normal birth, including risk assessment and the recognition of complications’ (WHO 1996). Midwifery care results in a reduced risk of complications, fewer interventions and healthier births for women and their babies.

Midwives: the experts in their field

Pregnancy and labour are seen as normal life events which occur within the life of a family – this is the focus of the midwife’s expertise.

Midwives: the ‘core’ of the maternity service

All women having babies require midwifery care. Midwives provide the ‘core’ of the care in the maternity service. They work with obstetric specialists as needed.

Midwives: enabling women to make informed decisions

Midwives offer a range of information on which women can base decisions about their care. A supportive relationship enables the woman to make decisions that are right for her and her family.

Midwives: there to provide one-to-one support and care during labour

Midwives are the primary caregiver for women during labour; providing care that facilitates the natural process of labour whenever possible. Labour support and care are enhanced by the benefits of a relationship established during pregnancy.

Midwives: providing continuity of care

Midwives provide continuity of care from conception to discharge at four to six weeks after the baby is born.