1. Baby
  2. Childbirth
  3. Giving birth
  4. Support Before, During and After Birth

Support before, during, and after birth

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.

Finding a midwife

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.

Where to give birth

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

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.

Planning your maternity leave

It will be handy to lock this in well before your due date, so you and your employer can plan for your absence. Many women like to start their leave a few weeks before their due date, while others choose to work all the way up until their baby is due. There’s no right or wrong – it’s totally up to you! But do check your employer’s policy about compulsory maternity leave time frames.
  • Employment New Zealand: It’s important to know your rights in the workplace when it comes to maternity leave. This site has all the information you’ll need.

Services and support after birth

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.

The Well Child Tamariki Ora Programme

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

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.

  • Plunket: Check out the Plunket website for a comprehensive run down of the services on offer, including educational courses.
  • PlunketLine: Call 0800 933 922 to ask a registered nurse any health question you have about your baby. They’re available 24/7.

Immunisations

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.

  • Immunisation Advisory Centre: Visit the NZ immunisation authority to find out more about which vaccines are recommended and why they’re an important part of your baby’s health.
  • National Immunisation Schedule: Find out when your child needs to be immunised and which vaccines they’ll be receiving.

Postnatal depression

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.

Financial assistance for parents

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.