While you’re pregnant
Choose a midwife and find out about who can get maternity care, paid parental leave, antenatal classes, health tests and parenting support.
Choose your lead maternity carer (LMC)
As soon as your pregnancy is confirmed you need to choose an LMC. Most LMCs are registered midwives, but they can also be:
- family doctors who provide maternity care
- obstetricians (doctors who specialise in pregnancy and childbirth).
Your LMC will:
- provide care throughout your pregnancy
- be with you when you give birth
- provide care to you and your baby for 4 to 6 weeks after the birth.
Free or subsidised maternity care
If you’re a NZ citizen or permanent resident you’ll get free maternity care unless you choose a private obstetrician or private sonographer.
Who can get free or subsidised maternity care
You’ll get free or subsidised maternity care if either you or your partner are one of the following:
- a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
- an Australian citizen or permanent resident who’s lived, or intends to live, in New Zealand for 2 years or more
- under 17 and your parent or guardian is eligible
- a work visa holder who’s eligible to be here for 2 years or more
- an interim visa holder who was eligible on the visa you had before
- a New Zealand Aid Programme student
- a Commonwealth scholarship student
- a refugee or protected person, or in the process of applying or appealing for refugee or protection status
- a victim of people trafficking.
How to find a LMC
The Ministry of Health website has advice on choosing an LMC.
Maternity care: Choosing a lead maternity carer
Contact details for qualified midwives who are members of the NZ College of Midwives.
Your local Te Whatu Ora — Health New Zealand may provide free antenatal classes. Talk to your LMC about what’s available in your area. The Ministry of Health website has information about classes.
Working while you’re pregnant
You can get up to 10 days unpaid special leave when you’re pregnant. This is for medical appointments, antenatal classes — it does not have to be taken as a full day’s leave.
Types of parental leave: Special leave
You can also take parental leave for when the baby arrives.
Changes to parental leave payments on 1 July 2020
Parents with babies due on or after 1 July 2018 are eligible for 22 weeks of paid parental leave.
Parents with babies due on or after 1 July 2020 are eligible for 26 weeks of paid parental leave.
If you’re renting
If you want to stay in your rental home once your baby is born, let your landlord know you’re pregnant.
Make sure your rental agreement lets you have another person living there. If it does not you can talk to your landlord about changing the agreement to include another person.
You cannot be discriminated against because of your family status, such as if you’re caring for children or are a single parent.
Health tests and screening
Talk to your lead maternity carer about what screening you should have.
You’ll be offered HIV screening with your first antenatal blood tests. Picking up HIV in pregnancy can stop it transferring to your baby.
Antenatal blood test fact sheet
You’ll be advised about the availability of screening for Down Syndrome and other conditions. There are options for screening in the first or second trimester.
Antenatal screening for Down syndrome and other conditions
Your health while you’re pregnant
- What to eat for a healthy pregnancy
- Food and pregnancy
- Help to stop smoking
- Benefits of dietary supplements like folic acid
- Effects of alcohol on your baby
Information and links for parents and caregivers.
- SmartStart — step-by-step information and support for expectant and new parents
- Being a parent
- Family services directory