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Midwife

Tapuhi ā-Whare

Alternative titles for this job

Midwives provide care and support to women, their partners and family/whānau during pregnancy, labour and birth, and for six weeks following the birth.

Pay

Midwives with up to five years' experience usually earn

$54K-$75K per year

Senior midwives with more experience and responsibility usually earn

$75K-$132K per year

Source: NZCM, NZNO, DHBs and MERAS, 2021.

Job opportunities

Chances of getting a job as a midwife are good, especially in Auckland.

Pay

Pay for midwives employed by district health boards (DHBs) varies depending on their length of service, seniority, and their shift rosters.

  • New midwives usually start on $54,000 a year.
  • Midwives with up to five years' experience usually earn $54,000 to $75,000.
  • Senior midwives with more experience and responsibility can earn between $75,000 and $132,000.
  • Self-employed midwives usually earn $80,000 or more.

Sources: New Zealand College of Midwives, 2021; and New Zealand Nurses Organisation and District Health Boards, ‘Nursing and Midwifery Multi-Employer Collective Agreement’, 2021; and Midwifery Employee Representation and Advisory Services and District Health Boards, 'Multi-Employer Collective Agreement 1 February 2018 – 31 January 2021’, 2021.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)

What you will do

Midwives may do some or all of the following:

  • support women through the normal physiological processes of pregnancy and childbirth
  • support women to maintain good physical, emotional and mental wellbeing throughout pregnancy 
  • discuss and organise ultrasound, blood and other screening tests during pregnancy
  • refer to other health practitioners during the pregnancy, labour, birth and post-birth period
  • care for women during labour, birth and the post-birth period, including prescribing medications
  • examine the newborn baby
  • provide information and support for parents on how to care for and feed their newborn baby.

Skills and knowledge

Midwives need to have knowledge of:

  • anatomy and physiology of the body, particularly related to pregnancy, birth and the post-birth period
  • different cultural beliefs and traditions about pregnancy and childbirth
  • development of babies during pregnancy and after birth
  • supporting mothers with breastfeeding
  • monitoring mothers and babies in pregnancy, labour and birth, including using ultrasound equipment and heart rate monitors.

Working conditions

Midwives:

  • do shift work, and may be on call for extended periods
  • may work in maternity hospitals or birthing units, or in the community
  • sometimes work in stressful conditions, as labour can be unpredictable. 

Entry requirements

To become a midwife you need to complete a Bachelor of Midwifery or a Bachelor of Health Science (Midwifery).

You also need to be registered with the Midwifery Council of New Zealand.

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can’t be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with, children. 

Secondary education

NCEA Level 3 is required to enter tertiary training. Useful subjects include biology, chemistry, English, heath education, maths, and te reo Māori. 

Personal requirements

Midwives need to be:

  • good at managing their time
  • skilled in communicating with people
  • patient and caring
  • able to work well under pressure
  • mature and responsible
  • able to remain calm during emergencies
  • observant and analytical
  • good at making decisions.

Useful experience

Useful experience for midwives includes:

  • being a parent
  • teaching
  • counselling
  • nursing
  • other health-related work.

Physical requirements

Midwives need to be reasonably fit and healthy, and must have a good level of stamina, as some births may take a long time.

Registration

Midwives need to be registered with the Midwifery Council of New Zealand and have a current annual practising certificate.

Find out more about training

Midwifery Council of New Zealand
(04) 499 5040 - info@midwiferycouncil.health.nz - www.midwiferycouncil.health.nz
New Zealand College of Midwives
(03) 377 2732 - www.midwife.org.nz
Check out related courses

What are the chances of getting a job?

Demand for midwives is currently high, particularly in Auckland, where the birth rate is higher and employers have difficulty filling positions.

About one third of midwives work part-time hours of 32 or less hours a week. 

Midwife appears on Immigration New Zealand's regional skill shortage list. This means the Government is actively encouraging skilled midwives from overseas to work in New Zealand.

According to the Census, 2,742 midwives worked in New Zealand in 2018.

Extra payment for graduates working in hard-to-staff locations

The Ministry of Health runs a voluntary bonding scheme aimed at recruiting more graduate midwives to work in  New Zealand communities that are hard to staff. 

Graduates are bonded for at least three years and can receive extra payments for up to five years.

Types of employers varied

Midwives can work for a range of employers:

  • 53% of midwives work in public hospitals
  • 32% are self-employed, working independently in small group practices or as part of a team providing care to a caseload of women
  • 4% are employed in private hospitals or birthing units
  • 2% work in the education sector in training roles.

Sources

  • Dixon, L, midwifery researcher, New Zealand College of Midwives, careers.govt.nz interview, April 2021.
  • Immigration New Zealand, 'Regional Skill Shortage List', 27 May 2019, (www.immigration.govt.nz).
  • Midwifery Employee Representation and Advisory Services and District Health Boards, 'Multi-Employer Collective Agreement 1 February 2018 - 31 January 2021, March 2021, (www.midwife.org.nz).
  • Midwifery Council, ‘2020 Midwifery Workforce Survey’, accessed March 2021, (www.midwiferycouncil.health.nz).
  • New Zealand Nurses Organisation and District Health Boards, 'Nursing and Midwifery Multi-Employer Collective Agreement', March 2021, (www.careers.adhb.govt.nz).
  • Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)

Progression and specialisations

Midwives may move into management, advisory, training or education roles in midwifery practice.

A female midwife sharing medical information with a pregnant woman

Midwives support women during pregnancy, labour and after birth

Last updated 3 May 2021