Maternity care in New Zealand is free for the majority of women. If you are not sure about your eligibility for free care, please check the Ministry of Health website, under ‘maternity services’.
Within Northland there is an average of 2000 births each year. Women who live in Hokianga, the Far North or in the Mid-North who do not have any complications in their pregnancy are encouraged to have their babies at the local primary maternity unit, however birth in Whangarei Hospital is recommended for those women who have an increased chance of complications.
Due to the population spread in Northland, the majority of births take place at the secondary unit, Te kotuku, at Whangarei Hospital, while the remainder occur at the three primary units attached to hospitals in Kaitaia, Kawakawa and Rawene. Postnatal care is provided in all facilities and also at Dargaville Hospital. Approximately 10 percent of births in Northland are planned homebirths. The ideal place for women to give birth is agreed on an individual basis by women and their midwives with input from obstetricians when indicated.
Northland DHB employs midwives to work in the maternity facilities across the region. In addition, self-employed midwives, working as Lead Maternity Carers (LMC), provide continuity of care throughout the pregnancy, labour and birth and postnatal period. This service is based in the community and takes place in midwives clinics or in women’s homes. Obstetricians work in Whangarei Hospital and also attend clinics at various locations throughout Northland.
In Whangarei, the DHB runs a community hub in Commerce Street. It is here that antenatal classes take place, where lactation consultant clinics in Whangarei are held and postnatal contraception services are provided. There is also a community social worker at the Hub.
The maternity service throughout Northland is supported by social workers, lactation consultants and antenatal educators. A midwifery education team provides a programme of on-going education for midwives. The service is also very supportive of students by enabling clinical experience for student midwives who are enrolled in the Auckland University of Technology midwifery programme in the local Northland group.
Kaupapa Maori hapu wananga antenatal education is provided throughout Te Taitokerau. Information about these can be provided by your midwife.
Making initial contact with a LMC midwife is made easier via the website Find Your Midwife. If a community LMC midwife is not available at the time you are due to have your baby, please ring the following numbers and a Northland DHB midwife will arrange on-going care. The phone numbers are:
It is really important that you register with a midwife early in your pregnancy. Sometimes midwifery care will be provided by a Northland DHB midwife. This will involve continuity during the antenatal and postnatal period as much as possible and hospital midwives will provide labour care.
There is a level 2 special care baby unit at Whangarei Hospital for those babies requiring specialist paediatric care. This is situated near Te Kotuku. Babies requiring complicated care are occasionally transferred to Auckland, but these babies usually return to Whangarei for ongoing care prior to discharge home.
See Healthpoint for more information regarding our services.