Pregnancy in New Zealand

Hey everyone – I’ve gotten a few questions regarding the differences between being pregnant in the US and being pregnant in NZ.  Since I’ve never been pregnant in the US and this is my first time being pregnant in NZ, I can tell you right now that my comparisons aren’t going to be exhaustive, but I’ll do my best to answer questions and tell you what I know.  Rather than one incredibly long post, I’m going to break it up over a couple of different ones so as not to bore you all too much.  All of this is information that I’ve either experienced myself, heard from other women in New Zealand, or have researched.

Prenatal Care {Antenatal Care}

If you are a resident of NZ or have a 2 year work visa, then {almost} all of your prenatal care can be covered by government funding.  I say almost, because there are some fees.  Having an ultrasound will cost between $50 – $70, and you’ll need at least 1 of these.  I’m also deliberate about saying that most of your care “can be covered”, because you do have some options as to what you get.

You can choose to deliver your child using an OB-GYN instead of a midwife.  Midwives are the standard of care in New Zealand and come under government funding.  If you use an OB-GYN, it will cost around $4,000 out of pocket.  There are some insurance policies that cover maternity costs, but the one that we went with {which just happened to be the only one that included that option} doesn’t start coverage until you’ve held the policy for at least 3 years.  Also, if you deliver in hospital and desire a private room for your after care, it will cost between $305 – $340 per night for up to 3 nights at Birthcare {a shared room is free}.  You can also choose to have extra services, such as 3D ultrasounds.  These aren’t covered, and you’ll be expected to pay for anything that isn’t truly necessary.  However, all of your bloodwork, prenatal visits, and several prenatal classes are paid by government funding.  Considering the incredibly high cost of living in Auckland compared to the United States, I’ll take all of the “free” stuff that I can get.

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7 comments

  1. Jenny @ Practically Perfect... says:

    Nope – you don’t have to pay out of pocket to deliver in hospital here. If you are a resident or have a 2 year work visa, your care is covered and you can choose to deliver at home, in a midwife facility, or in hospital (depending on your case and your midwife). I have every intention of delivering in hospital, I can tell you that! However, you are discharged 3 hours postpartum if you give birth in hospital. Yikes!

    And I agree with your sister: when are you coming to New Zealand?!

  2. Jane says:

    Sweet mother of mary … I’m sort of tired but does this mean you have to pay out of pocket to have your baby in hospital? Because … that is bat shit crazy … pardon my phrase. Does it mean you have to have your baby at home? Because … that is terrifying to me … maybe you’re okay with it … but for me … that’s enough to keep me far far away from New Zealand!

    On a slightly different note, yet still using all the key words from the previous paragraph, my sister is in the hospital and keeps asking me when I’m going to move to New Zealand to wear my pink and orange boots. Morphine … it does some strange things! 🙂

  3. Juli says:

    My midwife came to my house for all of my pre-natal visits, supervised labour and delivery, and again came to my house for all of our well child checks (for the first six weeks after giving birth).

    I tried for a home birth but was unsuccessful. My midwife (and another midwife) came with me to hosptial for delivery. I had some complications and was well looked after by the registrar on duty at the hospital.

    The delivery rooms at Wellington Hospital are private BTW and HUGE, with an ensuite (toilet, shower, etc). In my area, there are other government funded options that are amazing with private rooms for your after care as well (Kenepuru).

    Very happy with the care that I received–I was on a work visa at the time–and paid next to nothing for the whole deal.

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