Frequently asked questions
What is an LMC?
Anyone providing comprehensive maternity care in New Zealand is known as a Lead Maternity Carer or LMC. This may be a self-employed Midwife, a GP or an obstetrician.
Most women in NZ (over 75%) choose a self-employed midwife as their LMC, often for two reasons. Firstly, our care is government funded so unlike women choosing private maternity care, NZ residents are not expected to pay anything (that’s right! New Zealand midwifery care is free!).
Secondly, many women prefer the woman-centered approach that midwives offer and often develop valued relationships over the course of their pregnancy. Good midwifery care is relational, and highly personalised so it is common for women to return to the care of a trusted midwife during a subsequent pregnancy.
What is the partnership model of practice?
In contrast to the medicalised model of care dominating maternity systems in most other countries, The Partnership Model is unique to NZ and supports a woman-centered (as opposed to a doctor, or hospital centered) approach to maternity care. The Partnership Model views a midwife’s role with a pregnant woman as, unsurprisingly, a partnership. This means the midwife offers her professional knowledge and experience, while the woman offers her understanding of her own body and individual needs. Both women are equal contributors and neither should have more power than the other.
What does a midwife do ?
Kiwi LMC midwives offer comprehensive maternity care (that means we take care of all the routine stuff) from the moment you are registered with them (Remember! The earlier, the better!) throughout pregnancy, labour, birth and the initial postnatal period until your baby is 4-6 weeks old. LMC midwives are available for urgent care around the clock.
Should you require a specialist service
such as obstetric, anaesthetic or pediatric care, you will have free access to these practitioners if and when you need it.
Midwives are able to refer you for ultrasound scans and blood tests, and prescribe all of the medications relevant to a normal pregnancy. In the unfortunate event of a miscarriage, midwives are trained to support you, and refer you to specialist services as appropriate, so you should not wait until after the first trimester to begin looking for a midwife.
Plunket, a nursing support service catering to babies and young children, request that all new babies be referred to their care at four weeks of age, after which time some midwives may cease their postnatal visits, but are still available for midwifery-related issues should the woman request it.
LMC midwives are usually on-call for their women 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This means that even when we are not working, we are still working! Unlike those who work regular hours, weekends or days off as a midwife are usually infrequent and therefore guarded carefully!
When enjoying some planned time off, we rely on midwifery partners to provide back-up care. The back up midwife usually has her own caseload and should be able to offer support during every aspect of your maternity care. We also rely on collegial back-up in situations such as attending another birth, if sleeping after working through the night, if sick, or when attending professional development workshops.