How to Choose a Midwife
Many women choose to have an independent (self-employed) midwife as their lead maternity carer (LMC). Their services are provided free for New Zealand citizens or permanent residents and some others. Here are some tips to help you find one in Manukau/South Auckland:
When do I start looking for a midwife?
It's a good idea to start looking for a midwife as soon as you confirm you are pregnant. They will then organise your maternity care, deliver your baby and visit you for the first 6 weeks after the birth.
Where can I find out about midwives in Auckland?
- Check out this list of LMCs available in our area. Maternity Services-South Auckland. You might also like to visit Find Your Midwife.
- Personal recommendations can be really helpful. If you’re happy to tell friends, family or work colleagues you are pregnant they can tell you about the experiences they’ve had with their midwife.
- Take care with comments about midwives you read on the internet. As with any kind of review the people who post them can be very biased and can sometimes be unfair with their comments.
Things to think about before contacting a midwife for the first time
Expect to answer questions on the phone. These are likely to include:
When is your EDD (expected delivery date)?
Is this your first pregnancy?
Do you want to deliver at home, at a birthing unit or in a hospital?
Where in Auckland do you live?
Think about any special requirements you have
Do you need someone who speaks a language other than English?
Midwives have lives too. Make your enquiry phone calls during the day Monday to Friday if possible.
Expect to leave a message
Midwives often can’t answer the phone if they are holding a clinic, visiting a new mother, attending a birth or getting some well-earned sleep.
Make a list of your questions
Many of your questions will be answered once you meet your midwife.
If you have questions you want to ask on the phone before you decide on a midwife it’s a good idea to make a list as it is easy to get flustered if they call you back when you’re busy or they are in a rush.
Don’t be put off if a midwife turns you down
Midwives have to make sure they don’t have too many mothers due at the same time. They may turn you down if they are already booked up or don’t specialise in the type of birth you are keen to have.
If this happens ask them if they can recommend someone else.
What other LMC options do you have?
You may choose to attend a maternity clinic at a local hospital or birthing unit. Your pregnancy will then be managed by a midwife employed by the District Health Board (DHB). You may not always see the same person each time you attend an appointment during your pregnancy.
If you are referred to an obstetrician, due to complications during your pregnancy or birth, their services can be free. Otherwise an obstetrician in private practice will charge for their services.
A very small number of GPs in New Zealand provide pregnancy services and attend births.
Do independent midwives work alone?
Independent midwives often back each other up. This usually means you have the name and contact details of another midwife who can support you if your midwife is unavailable. You will often get the chance to meet your back-up midwife at some point during your pregnancy care.
Many independent midwives form groups and some have a shared contact number which is answered by whoever is on call.
Can you choose to change LMC once you have attended appointments?
- YES – it can be awkward and involves some paperwork but it can be done. If you’ve tried to talk to your LMC about your concerns and are still unhappy you are able to change.
Other useful links
Pacific parenting and pregnancy education http://www.tapuaki.org.nz/