About Maternity Associates
- To offer free primary midwifery and secondary obstetric care to all women, within the framework of continuity of care.
- To provide midwives with a motivating and supportive environment to enrich professional development and to be an integral part of our collective development.
- To work in a collaborative and co-operative manner with other healthcare professionals and recognise and respect their particular contributions within the healthcare community.
- To provide safe and effective care, recognise any deviations from normal and to initiate appropriate action.
- To be strong advocates for the women in our care, enabling their families to make their own decisions.
- To respect the customs, values and spiritual beliefs of our clients and their families.
Philosophy of Midwifery Care
Midwifery care takes place in partnership with women. Continuity of midwifery care enhances and protects the normal process of childbirth.
Midwifery is holistic by nature: combining an understanding of the social, emotional, cultural, spiritual psychological and physical ramifications of women’s reproductive health experience; actively promoting and protecting women’s wellness; promoting health awareness in woman’s significant others; enhancing the health status of the baby when the pregnancy is ongoing.
Midwifery is: dynamic in its approach; based on an integration of knowledge that is derived from the arts and the sciences; tempered by experience and research; collaborative with other health professionals.
Midwifery is a profession concerned with the promotion of women’s health. It is centred upon sexuality and reproduction and an understanding of women as healthy individuals progressing through the life cycle.
Midwifery care is delivered in a manner that is flexible, creative, empowering and supportive.
From: Midwives Handbook for practice: NZ College of Midwives Inc. 2002 Christchurch, New Zealand.
Definition and Scope of Practice
The New Zealand Midwife accepts the World Health Organisation definition of a midwife as adopted by the International Confederation of Midwives 1972 and International Federation of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians 1973, which reads:
A midwife is a person who, having been regularly admitted to a midwifery educational programme, duly recognised in the country in which it is located, has successfully completed the prescribed course of studies in midwifery and has acquired the requisite qualifications to be registered and/or legally licensed to practise midwifery
To practise as a midwife in New Zealand, the midwife must have an annual practising certificate issued by midwifery’s regulatory body.
The Scope of Practice of the Midwife
The midwife works in partnership with women, on her own professional responsibility and accountability to give women the necessary support, care and advice during pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period, to facilitate births and to provide care for the new born.
The midwife promotes and supports the normal childbirth process, identifies complications in mother and baby, accesses appropriate medical assistance and implements emergency measures as necessary.
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 women and her family for pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and parenthood and extends to certain areas of women’s health, family planning and infant wellbeing.
The midwife may practice in any setting including in the home, the community, hospitals, clinics, health units, or in any other maternity service.
The Standards for Midwifery Practice
The New Zealand College of Midwives’ Philosophy and Code of Ethics are the foundation for midwifery practice.
The Standards of Practice provide the benchmark for measuring actual practice and appropriate usage of midwifery’s body of knowledge.
They identify a series of actions that are essential to the development and maintenance of the midwifery partnership with women.
Partnership refers to the purposeful relationship between the midwife and the woman. It may be long or short term depending on the context in which the midwife works.
Continuity refers to the ongoing relationship between the woman and her primary midwife, including the midwife’s backup, throughout the woman’s total maternity experience.
The Treaty of Waitangi is the constitutional foundation agreement between Maori and the Crown, which incorporates the principles of partnership, protection and participation.
Code of Ethics
- Responsibilities to the woman.
- Maternity Care Midwives work in partnership with the woman.
- Midwives accept the right of each woman to control her pregnancy and birthing experience.
- Midwives accept that the woman is responsible for decisions that affect herself, her baby and her family/whanau.
- Midwives uphold each woman’s right to free, informed choice and consent throughout her childbirth experience.
- Midwives respond to the social psychological, physical, emotional, spiritual and cultural needs of women seeking midwifery care, whatever their circumstances, and facilitate opportunities for their expression.
- Midwives respect the importance of others in the woman’s life.
- Midwives hold information in confidence in order to protect the right to privacy in line with the Privacy Act 1994. Confidential information should be shared with others only with the informed consent of the woman unless there is a danger to her or her baby’s life.
- Midwives are accountable to women for their midwifery practices.
- Midwives have a responsibility not to interfere with the normal process of pregnancy and childbirth.
- Midwives have a responsibility to ensure that no action or omission on their part places the woman at risk.
- Midwives have a professional responsibility to refer to others when they have reached the limit of their expertise.
- Midwives have a responsibility to be true to their own value system and professional judgements. However midwives’ personal beliefs should not deprive any woman of essential health care.
Responsibilities to the Wider Community
- Midwives recognise Maori as tangata whenua of Aotearoa and honour the principals of partnership, protection and participation as an affirmation of the Treaty of Waitangi.
- Midwives encourage public participation in the shaping of social polices and institutions.
- Midwives advocate policies and legislation that promote social justice improved social conditions and a fairer sharing of the community’s resources.
- Midwives acknowledge the role and expertise of community groups in providing care and support for childbearing women.
- Maternity Care Midwives act as effective role models in health promotion for women, families and other health professionals.
- Responsibilities to colleagues and the profession
- Midwives support and sustain each other in their professional roles and actively nurture their own and others sense of self-worth.
- Midwives actively seek personal, intellectual and professional growth throughout their career, integrating this into their practice.
- Midwives are responsible for sharing their midwifery knowledge with others.
- Midwives are autonomous practitioners regardless of the setting and are accountable to the woman and the midwifery profession for their midwifery practice.
- Midwives have a responsibility to uphold their professional standards and avoid compromise just for reasons of personal or institutional experience.
- Midwives acknowledge the role and expertise of other health professionals providing care and support for childbearing women.
- Midwives take appropriate action if an act by colleagues infringes accepted standards of care.
- Midwives ensure that the advancement of midwifery knowledge is based on activities that protect the rights of women.
- Midwives develop and share midwifery knowledge through a variety of processes such as standards review and research
- Midwives participate in education of midwifery students and other midwives.
- Midwives adhere to professional rather than commercial standards in making known the availability of their services.