My Midwife

With her third child born earlier this year, DEBORAH WARD introduces us to her ‘wonderful’ midwife, Anne, and offers some insights into finding a midwife to suit your personality and philosophy.

About a month before the due date of my baby earlier this year, I recognised some of the familiar signs of early labour. My previous birth experiences suggested that I had better get to the hospital quickly.

I rang my midwife, Anne, and I could sense her setting an imaginary stopwatch. For most women, early labour is an indication of the marathon effort that is to come. Mums are told to try to get some rest in order to gather the energy needed to get through the gruelling hours ahead. For me, though, any labour signs mean that immediate action must be taken, and my midwife was determined to make it this time. When our second baby rushed into the world, Anne declared that, throughout her entire career, she had only missed five of her patients’ births and that two of those were mine.

My friend recommended Anne to me when we announced our first pregnancy and I’m pleased that I accepted her advice. A very pragmatic, sensible woman, Anne also has a wry sense of humour and an incredible sensitivity, which came to the fore when she broke the news to us that our second baby had a genetic abnormality. She gave us the facts and gently offered support, without gushing or offering condolences.

A woman’s Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) is responsible for monitoring her progress, and that of the baby, during pregnancy. He or she will also help the mother devise a birth plan, deliver the baby, and care for the mother and baby postnatally.

Healthpoint.co.nz offers a good list of comparisons between the different Lead Maternity Carer options available; but, in New Zealand, most mothers choose an independent midwife as their LMC.

Midwives offer a greater continuity of care in that they stay with their patients from early in the pregnancy until they refer the babies to a Well Child provider when they are between four and six weeks old. Midwives are available around the clock and provide their patients with a back-up midwife if they are unable to be contacted.

One other factor that no doubt influences many mothers in their LMC selection process is that independent midwives offer a free service. It’s great to know that excellent maternity care is available to all New Zealand women.

The relationship between mother and midwife is a close one and it is important to find someone who is a good fit in terms of personality and philosophy. If pregnant women don’t have a personal recommendation to go on, or they want to explore other options, findyourmidwife.co.nz is a fantastic tool. Women can click on their geographical areas and find lists of midwives who work there. Each midwife has her availability displayed on a calendar, as well as a short message about her approach to midwifery.

When Anne delivered our daughter, it was a triumphant moment. The hospital midwives who assisted me with my first two speedy births were excellent, but it was so much more comforting this time around, knowing that my baby and I were in the care of this wonderful woman with whom I have spent so much time over the last few years. My third birth was also pretty fast but it wasn’t scary because I had full confidence in
my midwife.

For your options for Lead Maternity Care, visit healthpoint.co.nz/maternity/lmc-options.

To find out about the midwives available in your area, go to findyourmidwife.co.nz.