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Frequently Asked Questions

Overseas visitors to our website with questions regarding the cost of maternity care, can access information and the document “Guide to Eligibility for Publicly-Funded Maternity Services in New Zealand” from the New Zealand Ministry of Health website.


What is an LMC?

A Lead Maternity Carer is the health professional who takes primary responsibility for providing you with maternity care during your pregnancy, birth and 4 – 6 weeks postnatally.

My GP does not provide maternity care. Can you refer me to one that does?
The majority of GPs who were providing maternity care have exited the service since changes to maternity care came into force in July 1996. For women in many areas of New Zealand midwives are now the sole providers of primary maternity care. For a list of LMCs in your area contact the Ministry of Health 0800 MUM 2BE number – 0800 686 223.

How much does maternity care cost?
Maternity care is available free of charge to New Zealand residents and citizens and people with a 2 year work permit. Access to specialist maternity care is also available free of charge unless the woman chooses to go to a private obstetrician. Other visitors to New Zealand must pay the full costs of the pregnancy and labour and birth care. Refer to Minister of Health document “Guide to Eligibility for Publicly-Funded Maternity Services in New Zealand” from the New Zealand Ministry of Health’s website – see above.

If your GP says there will be a charge for the maternity care he/she provides ask them to refer you to one that does not charge, or contact the 0800 MUM 2BE number (0800 686 223) for a list of Lead Maternity Carers in your area.

What postnatal care am I entitled to?
Most hospitals now encourage women to leave hospital within 48 hours of giving birth for a normal birth and within five days for a caesarean birth, as this is what they are funded for. However there are no legal requirements for a woman to leave before she is ready, particularly if there are clinical reasons for her to stay longer, such as difficulties with establishing breastfeeding. The MSCC believes that the woman should decide when she is ready to leave.

All women should receive a daily visit from their LMC while in hospital and a total of between 5 – 10 home visits by their midwife after they leave hospital, and more if clinically needed. Ask your midwife how many postnatal visits she usually makes. Your LMC should refer you to the Well Child provider of your choice who will visit once your LMC has discharged you from her care. This usually occurs between 4 – 6 weeks after the birth.

I am not happy about the maternity care I received from my caregiver. Who can I contact?
There are a number of ways of making your feelings known about the care you received. You can arrange a meeting with your midwife or your doctor and talk about what  happened. If you feel uncomfortable doing this on your own take a friend or relative with you as support. Alternatively you could write a letter and send it to them. Another option you have is to contact the Midwives Standards Review Committee (MSRC) in your area and fill in an evaluation form which the midwife will use as part of her professional development. The College of Midwives also has a Resolutions Committee in each region. If you have unresolved issues about the care you received you can use the Resolutions Committee to help you. For further information on this process and for contact details for your area contact the College of Midwives on (03) 377-2732. If you wish to make a formal complaint about the care you have received from either your doctor or your midwife contact the Office of the Health and Disability Commissioner on 0800 11 22 33. Their website address is www.hdc.org.nz