Saturday, July 23, 2011

new zealand maternity care

Sharon undressing Trent for a weight check at our home.  

I have been very impressed with maternity care in New Zealand.

All midwifery care is provided free of charge (as long as you qualify for government health services, which we do with 2 1/2 year work visas).  There are charges if you decide to deliver with an obstetrician, unless you are referred by your midwife for a high risk pregnancy.  Standard midwifery care includes pre-natal visits, home, hospital or birth centre delivery, and six weeks of post-natal visits.  After six weeks, the mother and baby are transferred to a community health nurse who also does home visits to discuss any concerns about development, including checking weight and height.  She may also recommend other community based resources.

We were able to choose our midwife, and we chose a wonderful woman named Sharon Down.  I had gotten to know Sharon in our ward (church congregation).  The first time I met Sharon, she was teaching a lesson in Relief Society.  I learned she was a midwife, and I introduced myself after the lesson.  I mentioned to her that I hoped we would have another baby sometime soon.  When she told me to go home and seduce my husband, I knew I wanted her to be my friend.  She was almost as thrilled as we were when I told her I was pregnant.  Because she lives just around the corner from us, Sharon was kind enough to do all of our visits at my home.  I never have to wrestle my kids in a waiting room or schedule a babysitter.  Max and Maya loved being part of the pre-natal visits.  While Sharon would examine my baby bump, the kids would sit close by and "help".  During the delivery, Sharon was just what I needed.  She was with me the whole time.  She let me set the mood, stepped aside when I needed quiet, and took charge when I needed direction.  It has also been wonderful to have her visits after we came home from the hospital.

Another of the benefits of having a baby in New Zealand is that I felt no pressure to have another c-section, which was the delivery method with Max and Maya.  In fact, I was encouraged to have a VBAC.  I wasn't considered weird and alternative for wanting a natural delivery.  Also, although I was 10 days past my due date, I was not pushed to artificially induce my labor.

We are so glad to have a New Zealand made baby.


  1. congrats on your bubba! its nice to hear that that you're enjoying the NZ maternity system - with all the recent media stuff about midwives its nice to hear someone praising them! I think we're really lucky here in NZ. LOVE my midwife too!