Navigating the world of maternity and baby care services may be a little overwhelming at times – especially when you’ve got so many other things to think about! There’s plenty of support available. New Zealanders are lucky to have access to many excellent government-funded programmes.
Services and support during pregnancy
Pregnancy is often an exciting time, as well as being a whole new world of changes for first time mums-to-be.
Maternity and community services can help you prepare during pregnancy, for your baby’s birth and care after they are born.
As soon as you know you’re pregnant, it will be a good idea to find a midwife who will provide maternity care during your pregnancy, the birth, and 4-6 weeks after your baby is born. The cost of a midwife is covered by the New Zealand government, so ’don’t feel you need to stress about finances. Some women choose a specialist doctor (obstetrician), but this is not government-funded.
Your midwife will also be able to advise you on all of your ultrasound appointments and pre-birth scans and blood tests.
Whether you decide to have your baby at a hospital, birthing centre, or at home, plans will need to be made. Either way, your midwife will be with you the entire time. They’ll also give you information to help make the best decisions for you and your baby.
Antenatal classes are a great way to prepare for birth and meet other pregnant women. . They’re by no means “essential,” but many women swear by them.
You won’t be alone once your pregnancy is over – there are many services you can access, which will help to support you and your baby.
Well Child Tamariki Ora (WCTO) is a government-funded programme covering all of your baby’s core medical, growth and developmental needs. The health schedule begins at birth and continues until your little one is about to start school. Initially, your midwife will ensure your baby is receiving the relevant health checks, but after six weeks they will hand over to your general practitioner.
Plunket will assist you with almost any care you can think of involving your baby. They follow the WCTO programme and provide home, clinic, and mobile clinic care As well as primary health care, they also provide education to parents, particularly around breastfeeding, growth and development, settling and safe sleeping practices.
Immunisations are recommended at six weeks, three months, five months, 15 months, and four years. Some babies also need an immunisation at birth. Under the WCTO Programme, immunisations are fully funded by the NZ government.
It’s not something most women like think about, but postnatal depression (PND) can be a reality that 1 in 7 new mums experience. It’s important to be aware of the signs so if necessary, you can get help.
Depending on your finances and health status, you may be entitled to government financial support. It can be a bit of a minefield navigating the ins and outs of benefits, but these resources could help you out in a time of need.