Midwifery in Aotearoa New Zealand

In New Zealand midwifery practice is regulated under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (the HPCAA) and the responsible authority is Te Tatau o te Whare Kahu | Midwifery Council (the Council).

In Aotearoa midwives work in a variety of settings and in a number of roles. The majority of midwives are currently working in employed positions and are known as Core Midwives. In these roles they work with women who are attending hospitals or primary birthing centres for their pregnancy, labour birth and postnatal care.

Midwives also work in the community as Lead Maternity Carers (LMC) providing continuity of care to women throughout their pregnancy.

Midwives in all capacities have the ability to provide care on their own responsibility, however all have the skills to work in collaboration with other health professionals when required in order to ensure the women and her baby receive the care they need.

Midwives are also employed in roles as educators, regulators or in the provision of policy advice that impacts on care received by women and their infants.

Midwives provide care from pre-conception until discharge of the family to primary services at or around six weeks postnatal. Midwives are the main providers of lead maternity care services with over 90% of women choosing a midwife as her LMC.

Midwives must complete a Bachelor level degree and complete extensive clinical practice in order to enter the Register of Midwives. Once registered they must maintain their ongoing competence to practise through engagement in the Council recertification programme.

Relevant Documents

Statement on the Midwifery Scope of Practice and prescribing controlled drugs

Statement on support and role of the midwife