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.