When and where will I see my midwife?
Regular visits are an important part of your care. We welcome your support people to be part of your visits.
In pregnancy we will meet you at our clinic rooms at Birthcare Huntly once a month until you are 28 weeks. Then every two weeks until you are 36 weeks. We will start working on your birth plan at around 36 weeks and will see weekly until your baby is born.
After your baby is born we will see you at the maternity unit, and then at your home 1-3 times a week (as needed) up to 4-6 weeks. Then you will be discharged from our care and you may choose to be referred to your GP and Wellchild Services.
What if we need to change an appointment?
A midwife’s schedule can be unpredictable due to the difficulty of planning appointments around births! Occasionally we may need to reschedule your appointment. To assist with this please ensure we can always contact you by letting us know if you change your phone number or address.
If you are not able to keep your appointment please contact us in advance and we will do our best to arrange a new date and time. Please be aware that if you do not cancel and then miss an appointment you will have to wait until your next scheduled visit.
Research shows that non-attendance in pregnancy carries a substantially elevated risk of severe adverse outcomes which puts you and your baby at risk.
If appointments are frequently missed we will ask you to make other arrangements for your on going care.
What happens at my first appointment?
Your first appointment with your Lead Maternity Carer / Your Midwife (LMC) is referred to as your “booking appointment” and this usually happens at between 6 to 12 weeks of pregnancy and takes about one hour. The longer you wait to find a midwife the less you options you will have.
Your midwife will tell you how she practices and how to contact her. She will ask you questions about your health and complete a thorough assessment with you so she can provide recommendations about your pregnancy. This is called making a “care plan”.
Being as honest as possible will help your midwife to determine the level of care that you and your baby need. Your midwife is there to help and support you and to be an advocate for your baby.
What will my midwife need to know?
Your obstetric history. Any medicine or foods that you are allergic to.
You and your family’s medical history.
When your last menstrual period was to estimate when your baby is due.
Your midwife will ask about your lifestyle including diet, exercise, smoking, drinking or drug use, and if you have any concerns about personal safety. We only ask about these questions to assess how we can care for you best.
If you have have religious, cultural, or spiritual beliefs we would like to know so that we may incorporate this into your care.
How does my midwife monitor our wellbeing?
Your midwife will measure your height and weight, take your blood pressure, check a urine sample, and she may ask to feel your pregnant tummy to estimate how far into the pregnancy, listen to your baby’s heart beat and ask you about your baby’s movements.
If it is not clear how far along you are or your period dates are uncertain she may ask you to have an ultrasound scan.
Your midwife will offer you blood tests relating to your pregnancy. These tests check for anaemia/low iron, blood type and Rhesus factor, Ruebella immunity, and also to screen for diseases like HIV, diabetes, syphilis, and hepatitis B which can usually be prevented from transmitting to your baby with early intervention.
Your midwife may prescribe medications for your pregnancy and will discuss vaccinations for your pregnancy.
You will be offered screening tests for chromosomal abnormalities such as Down’s Syndrome at approximately 10 to 12 weeks.
Between 18-22 weeks your midwife will ask you to get an ultrasound scan to check your baby’s anatomy and location of the placenta. She may recommend growth scans if this is indicated.
As your pregnancy progresses your midwife will continue to offer you tests as required and answer any questions or concerns since your last visit. Your midwife will also guide you in the direction of Hapu Wānanga labour and birthing classes to help you create your birth plan at around 36 weeks.
What happens at birth?
You will have prepared yourself during your pregnancy to know the signs of labour, what to be concerned about, ways to cope in labour and when to contact your midwife or her backup team.
Your midwife will be guided by your birth plan but if something needs to change she will discuss it with you.
Labour is different for every women and pregnancy. Your midwife will guide you through the process, you will be able to contact her 24/7 on the phone if you have concerns or need urgent care. She will be with you in active labour to support you and facilitate the care that you need for a safe birth. This will include monitoring your wellbeing by checking your blood pressure, temperature and pulse, assessing your baby’s position and heart beat. With your consent, your midwife will check your labour progress by vaginal exam if needed.
After your baby is born you midwife will assist to delivery your placenta, check your perineum for any tears, help you to breastfeed and complete a top to toe newborn check.
After a few hours when the midwife knows you and your baby are safe and well she will make a custom care plan with you and the staff midwife for your postnatal stay at the maternity unit.
What happens if my pregnancy or birth becomes complicated?
Midwives specialise in providing “primary” maternity care within our scope of practice and follow MOH Referral Guidelines. A vital part of our role is to recognise when your pregnancy, labour, birth or postnatal care may have deviated from normal. If this occurs, in consultation with you, we will arrange a referral to the medical / obstetric team at the hospital.
If you require ongoing “secondary” care we will discuss this with you and the hospital team and it will be agreed who is best to now provide your maternity care. For minor concerns your midwife is likely to remain your main carer, working together with the hospital team. If your needs are more complex, responsibility for your care may be transferred to the hospital team. Your midwife will then take on the role of providing support and advocacy working closely with the hospital team and / or remaining in regular contact with yourself and hospital team so she can maintain your continuity of care.
All midwives are trained to provide emergency care if this become necessary.
How do I contact my midwife?
URGENT CONTACTS: You are concerned about you or your baby’s well-being or you are in labour please always call your midwife’s mobile phone number.
Examples: bleeding during pregnancy, excessive vomiting from morning sickness, you think your waters have broken, strong abdominal pain, reduced fetal movements or other illnesses/concerns relating directly to your pregnancy.
If your call is answered by voicemail please leave a message. If you do not receive a reply within 10 – 15 minutes (which can happen if we are on another call, busy with another client or visiting clients in areas with poor mobile phone coverage) you can always call Birthcare Huntly 07 828 7648 to speak with a midwife who will direct you what to do next.
Do not text for urgent queries because there can be long delays in text messages being received, texts can not be diverted to a back up midwife so may go unanswered or unseen, and urgent medical advice can’t be given via text due to the risk of misunderstandings.
If your midwife is “Off Call” your phone call will be automatically redirected to a backup midwife.
NON-URGENT CONTACTS for general questions or requests:
Examples: you have lost or need repeat scan, blood test form, prescription, WINZ certificate. You have forgotten when your next appointment is. Or just have a general question about pregnancy.
Before contacting us please consider if your question or request could wait until your next appointment? If not please remember that we also have families and personal lives outside of midwifery and restrict all non-urgent calls / texts to within business hours e.g. Monday to Friday 9 AM to 5 PM.
If you have a lingering problem please contact us during normal office hours and don’t wait until 10pm on a Saturday night to tell us of a problem which has been bothering you for several days.
Please remember it is your responsibility to ensure you are always able to contact us. Please don’t text us asking us to phone you back.
TEXT MESSAGE POLICY
Text messaging ONLY permitted during business hours Monday to Friday 9AM - 5PM to confirm, cancel or request an appointment change. Texting is not permitted for ANYTHING but appointments. ANY texts outside business hours will not be received. If you have not received a reply within 24 hours of requesting an appointment change please call me.
STRICTLY NO TEXT MESSAGING FOR EMERGENCIES! TEXTING DURING AN EMERGENCY IS DANGEROUS FOR THE WELLBEING OF YOU AND YOUR BABY AND I WILL NOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR NOT SEEING YOUR MESSAGE OR MISINTERPRETING WHAT YOU HAVE SAID.
Remember: If it’s an emergency CALL. If it’s about appointments: TEXT during business hours. If you have a non-urgent question wait to discuss this at your next appointment.
What happens if my midwife is “Off Call” or busy with another woman in labour?
Our midwives maintain their own caseloads, with the benefit of working closely with other midwives so we can support each other when required.
When your midwife is busy or has time “Off Call” a back-up midwife and / or the other midwives in the group practice will provide all the care that is required including labour and birth care. From time to time we may also have locum midwives working with us to ensure we can always offer you the safest possible care.
To provide optimal continuity of care our midwives share a maternity IT system which allows us all to access client records whenever required. We also meet regularly to keep in contact and update each other about the clients our care. Most clients will meet their backup midwife at some time during the pregnancy. Please let you midwife know if you would like the opportunity to meet the other midwives in our group.
What does “Off Call” mean?
As midwives we often work long unpredictable hours so it’s essential that we have regular time off to rest and recuperate. This is important not just for our own health and wellbeing, but also to ensure that we do not become too fatigued to care for you safely.
Some of our time “Off Call” is planned in advance, such as alternate weekends off (typically from Friday 5pm to Monday 9am), annual leave or attending meetings / study days for our required continuing education to which ensure our clinical and professional skills are always up to date. At other times we might need to go “Off Call” unexpectedly, if for example we are fatigued after a long birth, are unwell, or have a family commitment or emergency.
We understand that it can be disappointing when your own midwife is “Off Call”. We ask that you please respect our own self-care and understand that we have lives and families outside of our work, just like you do. “Off Call” time means that we can do our best for you and your baby when we are on call.
What are the best websites to learn more about my pregnancy?
Provides step-by-step support to help you access the right services for you and your website.
Maternity Consumer Council
A consumer organisation that promotes the rights of women throughout the birthing cycle. Their resource series called Your Choice and The Facts is based on evidence. You can also read real women’s birth experiences.
The New Zealand College of Midwives
The College is the professional body of midwives in New Zealand. Its purpose is to promote and enhance the profession of midwifery in order to ensure excellence in midwifery services to women and babies.
The Midwifery Council of New Zealand
The Midwifery Council protects the health and safety of women and babies during pregnancy, childbirth and during the first six weeks after baby is born.
The kaupapa of Nga Maia focuses on Mama, Pepi, Whanau and promoting Matauranga Maori in pregnancy and childbirth.
La Leche League
Support and resources for breastfeeding mothers.
Privacy & Confidentiality
You are entitled to Privacy and Confidentiality, and we will only ever discuss you or your case with another health care professional if it is relative to your care. You need to be aware that like any other healthcare professional, if we have serious concerns about you or your baby’s well-being or safety we are obligated by law to discuss this with the appropriate people.
Intimidation, threatening or abusive behaviour in any form from clients or their support people will not be tolerated under any circumstances and we reserve the right to withdraw from your care immediately.
You must ensure that your home is a safe environment for us when we visit you. Any dogs on the property must be securely put away or tied up when we visit.
The information expressed in the links above are not necessarily the opinions of Aroha Midwives and inclusion does not indicate endorsement or recommendation because we are not responsible for the information or maintenance of those websites. Links are intended for education and informational purposes only in order to provide a variety of information to assist you.