Friday, October 10, 2008

New Zealand Birth

Sometimes I forget how different the NZ and US systems are when it comes down to childbirth. I thought I'd outline a few things so you can see where I'm at.

*In NZ most women see a midwife. You can elect to see an OB, but unless you have a complicated pregnancy, you'll most likely only see a midwife.

*Your midwife is you Lead Maternity Care Provider. This means, you see the midwife for all your prenatal (antenatal) visits. She refers you for your ultrasound and your blood work, but she does the rest.

*Your midwife is with you during labor and delivers your baby, unless an OB is needed.

*Your midwife can deliver at home, in a birthing center (maternity annexe), or in the hospital.

*Your midwife has prescribing rights in pregnancy areas. In other words, if you have a home birth and begin to hemorrhage, your midwife carries the necessary medications to fix it. You'll probably still end up being sent to the hospital, but you don't have to wait until you arrive at the hospital for the necessary meds.

*Your midwife will do the same things in the hospital as at a homebirth.

*There are birthing pools in the hospital.

*Natural birth has more encouragement here than in the US.

*I rarely meet NZ who have received an epidural, most want gas or pethidine (like Nubain).

*There is no cost difference between a home and hospital birth. All maternity care is covered by the government.

The situation is different for me here than elsewhere. Just thought you'd like to know.


  1. Very interesting seeing the differences from a different country. I think it sounds wonderful. Here in the USA we make invasive procedures an every day occurance.


  2. Wow, all of the comments were amazing on your last post. I just have to say "thanks" for giving us the chance to tell our stories! That was fun.

    Isn't it great that there are so many different ways for giving birth? Too cool.

    Btw, thanks so much for sharing your births & children's lives. I love living a bit vicariously through you! Especially this pregnancy. We're done but I still have a few "cravings"!

  3. Where I live (in the US), they assign you to a midwife unless you're high risk. Interesting.. :)

  4. So true!!!
    Canada is much like US...although midwifery is taking off here. My last two babies were born with the midwife here in Canada. I had my twins in NZ, and when I tell people that I had them naturally with no pain meds, they nearly fall of their seat! "C-section" wasn't even mentioned!
    Happy planning!
    Enjoy these precious times!

  5. Oh! You are blessed to have such a great system, one so sympathetic to the natural birth. I can't get over how amazing the NZ system is!

    That's it! I'm moving to NZ!


  6. so jealous! my husbands British and he says US birth scares him - and it should!

    Thanks for the deets little lady :)
    I guess thinking of homebirth isn't that special when the alternative is just fine too!



  7. I always wanted a midwife, then after the whole NICU thing, I want doctors, monitors, iv's the whole deal. Im a bit paranoid these days. Wait?!?! Im talking like I want another baby??????

  8. wow that is different.. sounds like it might be better than here. :)


  9. Wow! Can I move to NZ? LOL! I wish that was the way it is in the US. You are very fortunate to have such great options for your pregnancy and birth!

    The system there is really set up so if needed the transition from Homebirth to hospital is seamless. Wow That right there would make my decision to birth at home a complete no brainer! Just the fact that I can labor in my own space, cuddle as a new family in my own bed, and my older kids would be intheir comfort zone would be enough for me! Let alone the system there works so well and it is safe is just a given!

    Good luck with your decision!

    Jennifer Bray
    Spokane Valley, WA USA

  10. Susie, I am curious: is routine infant circumcision the norm in NZ? We got a lot of flak for leaving our son intact and from research it seems like circumcision is far less common in Europe than the US, and I am curious about NZ.

  11. Interesting differences from NZ and the US... My mom was a midwife (she passed away 3 years ago) and it seemed like all her patients had a much better birthing experince that way--the midwife really takes the time & care for the birthing mother!!

  12. With Hayden, we planned to birth at the maternity annexe, but ended up in Waikato Hospital for an induction (it was taking 'too long'). I am not a fan of hospitals, and didn't want an epidural (needle in my back?! - argh!). Our midwife knew this, and made sure it didn't happen - just a little gas, and by then, I didn't actually care about the hospital part. I felt like superwoman! Shortly after we went back to Morrinsville, so got to recover with help available, but,in a 'home' like envt. We planned to have Campbell at Waihi. He also took a long time, with talk of going to hospt. but managed to have him in Waihi, with just a bit of gas (my confidence took a battering though) We stayed for a few days pampered care. Bridie, as you may know, was supposed to also be a Waihi baby - but ended up being a bathroom baby, delivered by Daddy, ambulance and midwife still on the way. Homebirth had never really appealed (the thought of cleaning up afterwards, or even, going through one of my long (two day) labours with either all the curtains closed, or all the neighbours watching...!)but I have to say - it was the most perfect way to complete our family. Just us (Campbell slept through it, but Hayden joined us in the bathroom minutes later)and our new baby - I felt like superwoman again - It didnt hurt as much as the boys, but I think because I didn't know I was that far along! The neighbours didn't care, and the mess was minimal. If we had been planning more babies, it would definitely be an option now(with a midwife present!!) I did go to the annexe for a few days after she was born - nice to have some quiet time with baby, away from two excited and needy big brothers! I am not sure the hospital would be so relaxing?! Definitely a fan of the annexe.

    Maybe Matt and Oceana could come back to Waihi Beach for a couple days while you hang out in Waihi?!

    Whatever you decide, it will be an exciting time, and I am sure you will feel like a superwoman too :)

  13. Birdwatcher - You are correct in your info on Europe in regards to circumcision. My oldest was born in a military hospital in Germany but life flighted to a local national (just laugh) hospital. While there they had to perform a partial circumcision (actually cut the skin but didn't pin it back). They made a point of assuring me that it would pretty much grow back (I didn't ask)! Back in the military they wanted to redo but I said "no" because after all of the needles & surgery etc... it wasn't worth doing!

  14. Wow. very different than here in the US. I found that info interesting!! Having high risk pregnancies... I can appreciate my OB and hospital, ICU ect tho. Thanks for sharing your story!

  15. that is awesome! if only it were that way in the US.

  16. Our part of Canada (BC) seems to have lots of similarities with NZ. If my husband were game, we'd be having our wee one at our home. But thankfully, our third world clinic of a hospital got replaced with a new one that includes private rooms for women, birthing pools in some rooms, showers in every room, and a few other things. So I'll live with the hospital. I started with a midwife, but she was horrid and refused to address my anxiety and extreme sickness in the first three months. So we went with a maternity doc (a family/general doc who delivers babies - like you, we only see an OB if there are complications). My maternity doc prays for me after every visit, and her philosophy is so much like what you seem to have in NZ. So I'm hoping and praying that our birth in January goes well, and that I don't wimp out and beg for drugs.

  17. Wow...sign me up to birth in NZ...sounds so ideal!