So what is a midwife and what do we do?:
The word 'midwife' comes from old English 'mid' meaning with, and 'wife' meaning woman. A midwife is a health professional in midwifery, who are specialists in pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum care. A New Zealand Midwife is a trained health professional who has met all education requirements over a four year Bachelor of Health Sciences (midwifery) degree and has passed rigorous study and training, while obtaining her/his degree (BHSc midwifery) The Midwife must also have sat and passed the New Zealand final national examination. The midwife then undergoes rigorous screening through the New Zealand Police and Justice system so he or she can then apply to be accepted on and registered with the Midwifery Council Of New Zealand. Once deemed suitable and accepted onto the midwifery register, the midwife will be supplied with an Annual Practicing Certificate (APC). The Midwife must apply for a new APC every year, proving that he or she is keeping up skilled and up to date with latest research and skills throughout each year by attending compulsory and elective education opportunities. The midwife must also continue to be legally and morally competent to have her or his APC re-issued by the midwifery council. A midwife in New Zealand cannot work as a midwife unless he / she has a current and up to date Annual Practising Certificate.
A midwife specializes in the process of "normal" pregnancy and birth and are trained to recognize when situations, are no longer tracking along this path. When a woman's pregnancy moves outside the scope of a midwife's practice then she/ he will refer to an Obstetrician ( pregnancy doctor) at the hospital for consultation and an assisted plan of care. As LMC (Lead Maternity Caregivers / or midwives) We look after you from your booking visit through out your pregnancy, help you birth your gorgeous baby, and provide care for up to six weeks after the birth this is called the postpartum period. “Midwifery is a profession with a distinct body of knowledge and its own Scope of Practice, Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. The midwifery profession has knowledge, skills and abilities to provide a primary complete maternity service to childbearing women on its own responsibility” (New Zealand College of Midwives -NZCOM 2014)
The New Zealand College of Midwives states that "The midwife works in partnership with women, on her own professional responsibility, to give women the necessary support, care and advice during pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period up to six weeks, to facilitate births and to provide care for the newborn.
The midwife understands, promotes and facilitates the physiological processes of pregnancy and childbirth, identifies complications that may arise in mother and baby, accesses appropriate medical assistance, and implements emergency measures as necessary. When women require referral midwives provide midwifery care in collaboration with other health professionals.
Midwives have an important role in health and wellness promotion and education for the woman, her family and the community. Midwifery practice involves informing and preparing the woman and her family for pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and parenthood and includes certain aspects of women’s health, family planning and infant well-being.
The midwife may practise in any setting, including the home, the community, hospitals, or in any other maternity service. In all settings, the midwife remains responsible and accountable for the care she provides.
To practise as a midwife in New Zealand, the midwife must have an annual practising certificate issued by the Midwifery Council of New Zealand". (NZCOM, 2014)