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Pregnant - What now?

Choosing a Lead Maternity Carer (LMC)

As soon as your pregnancy is confirmed it is recommended that you find and choose a Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) to co-ordinate your maternity care and provide support throughout your pregnancy.  If possible you should do this by 9 weeks gestation.

An LMC can be a Midwife, General Practitioner (GP) who provides maternity care or a Specialist Obstetrician.
Your LMC will organise your first visit (before 12 weeks) to review your general wellbeing, provide advice and explain options for antenatal screening and tests.

Visit the Find Your Midwife website for a list of midwives that work in the Southern district.

Deciding where to give birth

In New Zealand women have choices about their pregnancy, which includes choosing a lead maternity carer (LMC) and for low risk women, the place of birth. Your LMC will discuss birthing options with you early on in your pregnancy. For women with low-risk pregnancies, the best choice is often a primary birthing unit. Primary birthing is when women, with low-risk pregnancies, choose to have a natural birth without intervention, with a LMC present. You will work with your LMC on how you want your birth and labour to occur. LMCs support you from when you first see them, to around when baby is six weeks of age. 

During birthing, should you need to transfer to a secondary/tertiary maternity facility, your LMC is trained to make decisions and deal with the necessary processes to make this happen.Not all women are able to have their babies in a primary birthing unit. To ensure the best outcome for you and your baby, you may need to give birth in a maternity facility where  obstetric care is available. Your LMC or obstetrician will discuss this with you.

There are six primary birthing units in the Southern district where women can give birth and have post-natal stays once baby is born.

Primary and secondary maternity services are available in Dunedin and Southland Hospital.  Tertiary maternity services are only available in Dunedin hospital.

Home birthing is also an option for some women.  Discuss this with your LMC.  There is a wealth of information available on home birthing on Home Birth Aotearoa

Maternal and child hubs

In some communities, maternal and child hubs are available to provide ante and post-natal support for new and expectant mothers and their babies. Each location differs based on what is the appropriate fit for the local community and what other services are available nearby, but all hubs offer space and equipment for planned assessments and other aspects of antenatal and postnatal care. 

In Southland, maternal and child hubs are located in Tuatapere, Te Anau and Lumsden, and in Ranfurly and Wanaka in Otago. 

Maternal and child hubs, birthing units, and hospital-based services, are all part of our primary maternity system of care, ensuring the most appropriate and best possible care is available throughout the district.

Hubs are not intended as places of planned birth but are equipped to be used in urgent circumstances and LMC midwives have access to these facilities 24/7. 

Preparing to Breastfeed

Breastfeeding is a journey, sometimes with challenges but rest assured there is support for you! Breastfeeding has positive physical and mental health implications for both mums and little ones and helps lay the foundations of a healthy life. 

Breastmilk is the perfect food for infants and exclusive breastfeeding is recommended until babies are around six months. It also has the unique ability to adapt hour-to-hour, day-to-day and week-to-week to cater to your child’s needs for their exact stage of growth and development. Amazing! 

Breastfeeding though natural doesn’t always come naturally so to assist with your breastfeeding experience it’s important that you know what to expect and the support you might get from the various people in your life. Be willing to talk about your intention to breastfeed with your partner, family, friends, LMC and employer.

Attend the Antenatal Breastfeeding Classes in Dunedin
These FREE classes help parents gain confidence with breastfeeding. They are available to all prospective parents and their supporters, not only first-time parents. They are designed to complement and extend the information provided by antenatal education classes. This flyer has contact details for more information:

Use the BreastfedNZ app
BreastfedNZ is an excellent evidence-based app to support you throughout your breastfeeding journey, helping you to navigate changes and know what to expect.


Talk to your employer
NZ law states that an employer must provide appropriate facilities and work breaks (where it is reasonable and practicable), for an employee to breastfeed/express breastmilk in the workplace. Prior to going on parental leave talk with your employer about the support that is available in your workplace. 

Breastfeeding in the Maternity
Post-birth your LMC along with the midwives and nursing staff in the maternity ward and neonatal unit will be there to assist you and your baby to start breastfeeding. All Southern district birthing units are part of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. This means that they aim to give every baby the best start in life by creating an environment where breastfeeding is supported, protected, and promoted as the way to feed a baby.

In some maternity units, additional support for breastfeeding is available from a hospital Lactation Consultant. If you need extra help, you can ask for their assistance.   

Free Pregnancy & Parenting Education

Plunket provides FREE Pregnancy and Parenting Education (PPE) programmes for all expectant parents, with the focus to support first-time parents. 

The programme is designed to help expectant parents make the best choices for their family/whanau and assist them to gain confidence, skills and understanding of the pregnancy, childbirth and their parenting role.

All health providers who work with pregnant women can support them to book online or make a referral directly to the Pregnancy and Parenting Education (PPE) team via one of the following options below; and provide mother’s name, NHI, contact phone, email, expected date of delivery (EDD), and best time to contact:     

Plunket PPE website
0800 291 658 and 027 275 8477

If the courses on the Pregnancy and Parenting Education (PPE) website are not suitable due to location, date etc. please contact the Pregnancy and Parenting Education (PPE) team and they will look for other possible options for individual needs; which may occur in rural areas.