What to look for in a midwife

What to Look for in a Midwife

It can be confusing when first looking for a midwife as they are all different. However, there are certain qualities that you should look for and these are described below.

Respectful treatment

  • Gentle, supportive care that respects you, your family/whanau, your culture and your beliefs.
  • Respect for your informed decisions about tests, recommendations and interventions.
  • Willingness to support your plans for your pregnancy, birth and afterwards.
  • Respect for the birth process – it unfolds uniquely each time. Although amazing, being pregnant and giving birth are actually normal life processes for which a woman’s body is well designed. Each woman’s experience is unique.
  • Respectful care regardless of setting.

Personal attention

  • Antenatal visits at the midwife’s clinic. These visits will allow plenty of time for questions and discussion. Meaningful discussions to explore and help resolve fears and concerns you or your whanau might have.
  • Caring attention to develop a trusting, nurturing relationship with you and your whanau that can help you to labour and give birth naturally and safely. It can also help you, your partner and whanau with the transition to motherhood and parenting.

Plenty of information

  • Plenty of information about pregnancy, birth and the weeks afterwards, including breastfeeding and care of the baby.
  • Suggestions about ways you can take good care of yourself and your baby.
  • Encouragement and practical suggestions for you to have good nutrition and make healthy lifestyle choices.
  • Full information on any recommended tests, procedures or treatments so you can make informed decisions about your care.

Professional care

  • Regular and thorough check-ups for you and your baby throughout your pregnancy, during labour, and after the birth, to make sure both of you are healthy and doing well.
  • Recommendations for diagnostic technology when appropriate.
  • Planning with you for the unexpected and rare emergency.
  • Consultations with obstetricians if complications arise. If referral to an obstetrician is required midwives will continue to provide you with the important midwifery care you need.
  • Expertise in normal and natural childbirth. Because they are experts in normal pregnancy and birth, midwives are experienced in the variations of normal birth and recognise the early signs of conditions
  • Referral when you are ready (usually about four to six weeks) to the Plunket nurse, iwi provider, general practitioner or other provider. These practitioners can provide support to you and your family and assist you with ongoing issues and care for your baby such as well child checks and immunisation.

Confidence in your body and yourself as a mother

  • Help with discovering your own body’s ability to grow your baby and give birth in its own way and in its own time.
  • No routine treatments or arbitrary timetables that can interfere with your body’s healthy process of labouring and giving birth.
  • Individualised care, privacy and a belief in natural childbirth.
  • Support for doing the work of giving birth. You will be supported and encouraged to give birth to your baby in the way that best suits you and your family.
  • Support with the art of breastfeeding your baby.

Coping with the pain of labour

  • Midwives know that pain is an important part of labour and works to keep you safe.
  • There is normal pain in labour that demonstrates that labour is progressing normally. The normal pain of labour comes in waves and builds in intensity. Pain is not continuous but is a pattern of contractions with rest periods in between.
  • Midwives support you throughout labour and help you cope with the pain you will experience in a normal labour.
  • For a few women pain can indicate that labour is no longer progressing well. Midwives can recognise when pain is no longer normal as might happen if the baby is not in the usual position. For the small number of women for whom this might occur, midwives can help them access pain relief and additional help if necessary.
  • In labour midwives have found that encouragement, massage, privacy, changing positions and labouring in water are effective ways of working with pain.
  • Midwives help you avoid risks (to yourself and your baby) that are associated with the unnecessary use of technology.

Continuity of care throughout the whole experience

  • Midwives offer care right through, from your pregnancy test up to four to six weeks after the birth of your baby.
  • Midwives will visit you in your own home or, you may visit your midwife or her midwife partner at her clinic for your pregnancy care.
  • Midwives will usually come to you at home in early labour. As your labour progresses you can choose to stay at home or the midwife will come with you to River Ridge East Birth Centre or to the hospital if you need hospital care.
  • Midwives visit you and your baby at home after the birth and will help you adjust to becoming a mother, caring for your baby and assist you in successful breastfeeding.
  • Midwives give you the time you need to ask questions. They will plan around you and your family’s needs during pregnancy, birth and the weeks following.


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