Home Women About midwifery Community midwives and midwifery services

Community midwives and midwifery services


Pregnant women are able choose a community based midwife as their Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) who coordinates their maternity care. Lead Maternity Carers can be midwives, obstetricians or general practitioners with a diploma in obstetrics. LMCs are contracted through the Ministry of Health to provide a complete maternity service to you.

The vast majority of women and their families choose a midwife as their LMC. These midwives work with midwife partners (mostly in small group practices) and alongside midwives who are employed to work in maternity units to ensure you receive the care that meets your needs. Midwives also work collaboratively with other health professionals such as obstetricians to meet any additional medical or health needs.

When you choose a midwife as your LMC, you can expect the following:

  • information regarding the role of the LMC and contact details including arrangements for ‘back up cover’ if your midwife is unavailable
  • information about midwifery care, maternity services and options for referral for additional care should you need it
  • a comprehensive pregnancy assessment including physical examination, assessment of general health, family and maternity history
  • information about a range of screening tests (blood and ultrasound tests) and referral for these if you choose to have them
  • information on self care and lifestyle choices
  • information about the availability of Pregnancy and Parenting Education courses
  • information about Paid Parental Leave
  • development and documentation of a Care Plan to be used and updated throughout your pregnancy, birth and after birth
  • a copy of your clinical notes (updated at each visit)
  • continued assessment of your health and well being and that of your baby
  • understanding the changes taking place for you and your baby
  • updating your Care Plan and knowing when to contact your midwife
  • one-to-one education regarding healthy pregnancy, childbirth and parenting preparation
  • consideration of options for birthing including place of birth
  • monitoring and assessment of you and your baby’s progress including any follow up that may be required
  • any follow up blood tests and other screening tests
  • updating your Care Plan and confirming place of birth preference
  • one-to-one education regarding healthy pregnancy, childbirth and parenting preparation
  • planning for labour and birth including the role of your support people, what to expect in labour, care of the placenta, supporting your baby’s transition including skin to skin with baby and breastfeeding
  • information about early labour recognition and self care and when to make contact with your midwife
  • arranging for you to meet any other maternity carers who may be involved with your care
  • planning for your postnatal care
  • initial assessment at home or at a maternity facility
  • regular assessment of the progress of you and your baby including whether additional care is needed
  • review and support your birth plan in consultation with you and your partner/support people
  • facilitating skin to skin contact with your baby and initiating breastfeeding
  • examination and assessment of you and your baby’s early adjustments
  • monitoring and identifying your physical well being and providing care as needed
  • honouring plans for the care of the placenta and cutting the cord
  • notifying your baby’s birth to the Registrar of Births
  • detailed clinical examinations of you and your baby throughout the first 4-6 weeks
  • 5–10 midwifery home visits and more if clinically needed
  • support as you develop your confidence as a parent
  • assistance with and advice about breastfeeding and nutrition for you and your baby
  • recognition of signs of postnatal depression/baby blues and the support available if needed
  • options for the immunisation programme for your baby
  • access to screening programmes for your baby as outlined in the Well Child Tamariki Ora National Schedule
  • information on support agencies and other community organisations
  • advice about contraception
  • a final detailed clinical examination of you and your baby prior to transfer from the maternity service
  • transfer of your baby’s care from the midwife to the Well Child provider at a date agreed with you between 4-6 weeks after the birth, and formal notification of this transfer to the Well Child provider
  • notification to your general practitioner of you and your baby’s discharge from maternity services