The Midwifery Scope of Practice


The Midwifery Council is required by the HPCA Act to prescribe the scope of practice of a midwife. This is the definition of midwifery in New Zealand. The scope provides the broad boundaries of practice across the profession. It is not specific to an individual however all midwifery care provided by midwives must sit within it.

The scope of practice of a midwife has been defined by the Midwifery Council and is as follows:

The midwife works in partnership with women, on their 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 they provide.