What services do 1st Choice Midwives offer?

  • Free Pregnancy Testing

  • Friendly, supportive, flexible and professional care throughout pregnancy, labour and birth (including water birth) at HomeBirthcare Huntly or Waikato Hospital

  • Post-natal care for 4 weeks after birth (a minimum of seven postnatal visits)

  • Prescriptions relating to the pregnancy and post-natal period, including some contraception options

  • Referrals for pregnancy testing (such as blood tests & ultrasounds)

  • Information and resources to help you make a birth plan

  • Referral to other health care practitioners, medical specialists and support agencies if / when required

All our midwifery services are fully funded by the Ministry of Health (if you are a NZ citizen, resident or have a work visa). However during your pregnancy you may need to pay for additional services such as ultrasound scans, prescription part charges, childbirth education classes and optional tests at private laboratories.

Our philosophy of care:

  • We believe that pregnancy is a normal and special part of a woman’s life and that most woman can and will give birth without complications or interventions.

  • We acknowledge that research shows outcomes improve when women birth in an environment that supports and protects normal birth so we encourage low-risk women to plan to birth either at home or in a primary maternity unit.

  • We believe that in a usual progression of pregnancy and birth we have a responsibility not to interfere with the physiological (natural) process unless there is a medical indication.

  • We believe that with the right support most women experiencing a normal labour are able to give birth without the use of pharmaceutical drugs but we will discuss all the options that are available should you require these or if your labour is abnormal or complicated.

  • We have the skills required to undertake all aspects of primary midwifery care, including the management of emergency situations, however if during your pregnancy or birth you require additional medical care we will arrange this for you and continue providing care and / or support where possible.

  • We are pro-breastfeeding, because of the many benefits for both mother and baby, and will support you in beginning your breastfeeding relationship. However if for some reason this is not the right choice for you or your baby then we can discuss your options and support you with alternatives.

  • We believe that midwives and women should work in partnership, with women as active informed consenting participants in their care planning. We base our practice on research and the principles of informed choice and consent and will assist you in your decision-making with information and education.

  • We will respect and support your decisions, however there are of course limits to safe practice and as responsible care providers we will advise you if these limits are reached.

When will I see my midwife?

Regular antenatal visits are a very important part of your care. Your partner / family / support people are always welcome and encouraged to be part of your visits. The schedule of visits will be negotiated with you but typically we plan our visits based on the recommended schedule of the NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) as follows:

  • Booking visit (ideally by 10 weeks)

  • 16 weeks

  • 24 weeks

  • 28 weeks

  • 31 weeks

  • 34 weeks

  • 36 weeks

  • 38 weeks

  • 39 weeks

  • 40 weeks

As you can imagine the schedule of a midwife is frequently unpredictable due to the difficulty of planning appointments around baby’s births! Due to this there will be times when your midwife is running a little early or late, or needs to reschedule your appointment. Your midwife will make every effort to keep you informed if she cannot make an appointment and will arrange to reschedule. To assist with this please ensure we can always contact you by letting your midwife know if you change your phone numbers or address.

If you are not able to keep your appointment please contact us well 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 may have to wait for our next clinic day to see us. We are also required to document in your notes that you ‘did not attend’ a booked appointment as research shows that non-attendance or under-attendance for pregnancy care carries a substantially elevated risk of severe adverse pregnancy outcomes which puts yourself, your baby and us as midwives at risk. If appointments are frequently missed we will ask you to make other arrangements for your on-going maternity care.


What happens if my pregnancy or birth becomes complicated?

As community midwives, we specialise in providing maternity care within the "primary” (normal) scope of practice. Although we all hope everything goes smoothly for you a vital part of our role is to recognise when aspects of your pregnancy, labour, birth or postnatal care may have deviated from normal. If this occurs, in consultation with you, we will arrange a (free) referral to the medical / obstetric team at the hospital.

If you then require ongoing “secondary” care (also known as “complex” or “high risk” care) then after discussing this with you and the hospital team 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. However if your needs are more complex then 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 should this become necessary.


How do I contact my midwife?

(e.g. You are concerned about you or your baby’s well-being or you are in labour)

To ensure you have access to URGENT midwifery care please always call your midwife’s mobile phone number.

Your phone call will be automatically redirected to your backup midwife if your midwife is “off-call”. If your call is answered by voicemail please leave a message. If you do not receive a reply within 5 – 10 minutes (which can happen if we are on another call, busy with another client or visiting clients in areas with poor mobile phone coverage) please call your backup midwife.

DO NOT text us with urgent queries as there are frequently long delays in text messages being received, texts can not be diverted to your back up midwife so may go unanswered, and urgent medical advice can’t be given via text due to the risk of misunderstandings.


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: 9am - 5pm.

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. This means making sure you always have enough money on your phone to call us!! It is not acceptable to text us asking us to phone you back.


What is your backup support system? What happens if my midwife is off-call or busy with another woman in labour?

Our midwives each maintain their own caseloads, with the benefit of working closely together in pairs so we can support each other when required.

When your midwife is busy or has time “off-call” your 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 computer system which allows us all to access client maternity 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.

“Off-call”: What does it mean for us and for you?

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 Thursday 5pm to Monday 9am), annual leave or attending meetings / study days for our required continuing education (which ensures 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” but it is important that you consider this possible scenario. 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.

Midwife Safety

Sadly many health professionals, including community midwives, are increasingly being subjected to incidents of intimidation, threatening and abusive behaviour from both clients and support people.

There is never an excuse for aggressive bad behaviour. We understand that stress, anxiety, grief and fear can cause people to act in a way they wouldn’t normally. However all forms of violence (both words and actions) will not be tolerated and depending on the level of violence we will withdraw from your care and the Police may be involved.
Please also ensure that when we visit you at home that your home is a safe environment for us. This includes making sure that any animals are tied up.


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Copyright © 2003   Last modified: 25 May 2018