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Northland DHB Maternity Services

Public Service, Maternity, Obstetrics and Gynaecology


What is a maternity service?
Maternity is concerned with the care of women and babies throughout pregnancy (antenatal), labour and the first six weeks after birth (postnatal). For low risk pregnancies, where there are no complications, the provider of care (Lead Maternity Carer) is normally a midwife who is working in the community and funded by the Ministry of Health.  This is at no cost if the pregnant woman is eligible for care; if you are unsure if you are eligible for care look at the Ministry of Health website

If a pregnancy or birth becomes higher risk then an obstetrician may become involved in the care along with the LMC.

Not sure if you’re pregnant?
If you suspect that you may be pregnant but are not sure then it is advisable to take a pregnancy test. The following are some of the places where you can be tested: 

Pregnancy tests are simple; a small amount of your urine, ideally the first urine passed in the morning, is placed on a test stick that will indicate after a couple of minutes whether the result is positive or not. If the test is carried out too soon it may give a false result so if you are still unsure repeat the test one week later on the morning urine.

Referral Expectations

So you’re pregnant – now what?

Northland Services

If you do not already know a community LMC midwife check here for options.

If you are unable to contact a community LMC midwife then a DHB midwife can be contacted on 0800 434 2686 (during office hours only) and should be able to assist you to find appropriate care.  She will help you find a community midwife or arrange to provide your care during the antenatal and postnatal period.

Community LMC midwives provide continuity of care throughout the whole of your pregnancy, birth and postnatal journey.  Northland DHB supports the midwifery continuity of care model as a first option, so if you contact the DHB community midwife, she will first do her best to assist you to book for care with a community LMC midwife so that you have the opportunity to receive continuity of care. 

If you are unable to book with a community LMC midwife you will be able to see the DHB community midwife for your antenatal and postnatal care.  When you go into labour; you will receive care from a midwife who works in the hospital.

In all areas in Northland community LMC midwives provide care to women and babies both in the hospitals and in the community.  They offer homebirth, primary unit and secondary unit birth options depending on where in the Northland region they are based and what the local facility offers.

  • Whangārei – Te Kotuku maternity unit includes antenatal clinic, labour and birth care and inpatient antenatal and postnatal care. Some services such as epidural for pain relief and caesarean sections are only available at the Whangārei unit. 
  • Kaitaia maternity provides labour, birth and postnatal care
  • Bay of Islands maternity provides labour, birth and postnatal care
  • Dargaville hospital provides a DHB community midwifery service, inpatient postnatal care
  • Rawene is also a centre for birth care and postnatal but operates under a public health trust outside of the DHB. 

Childbirth education is offered free through the DHB.  There are currently four options and you can book for one or more than one of these options as long as there are spaces available.

There are both evening classes and weekend classes which are held at Te Puawai Ora at 18 Commerce Street, Whangārei.

There are also classes specifically for young parents which are held during each school term at The Pulse.

Te Wananga O Hine Koopu is a programme of antenatal education developed and delivered within a Māori Cultural framework. 

For more information regarding any of these classes please phone 09 430 2324 and leave a message and someone will return your call or email

Childbirth information

For information about your pregnancy, labour and birth talk to your midwife, she will be able to provide you with information and resources. You can also discuss with the antenatal educator in the classes you attend or if you would like to look online here 

What if baby arrives early?

Whangārei Hospital can provide ongoing care and support to most babies who are born from 32 weeks gestation. Prior to this gestation, or if baby is going to need additional care, it may be best for you to have baby in a unit which is designed to care for babies with more complex needs or to transfer your baby after birth if there hasn’t been time to go first.  In most cases that would mean transfer to Auckland City Hospital Neonatal Intensive care although there are rare occasions when babies are transferred further afield because Auckland is full.

In the event that you give birth to a preterm baby prior to 32 weeks at Whangārei, then a team would normally arrive from the neonatal intensive care unit to arrange the transfer of your baby as soon as possible. We always aim is to keep families together so as soon as possible we will arrange for you also to be transferred to Auckland for follow-up care so that you can be with your baby.

Once your baby is stable and able to be cared for in Whangārei, he/she will normally be transferred from Auckland to the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) in Whangārei for ongoing care so that you can be closer to your family. Babies born early but after 32 weeks' gestation can usually have all their care in SCBU in Whangārei.


How much does maternity care cost?

Maternity care in New Zealand is free unless a private obstetrician is engaged. If you are not a New Zealand resident or citizen please check with your care provider if there will be any cost attached. Further details can be found on the Ministry of Health website .


Maternity care is available 24 hours a day at Te Kotuku, Kaitaia and Bay of Islands maternity units. Dargaville maternity is open for postnatal care 24 hours and for antenatal clinics during working hours.  Northland DHB community midwifery care is available Monday to Friday 9am – 4pm and weekends for postnatal visiting when required.

Procedures / Treatments

  • Amniocentesis More

  • Antenatal blood tests More

  • Caesarean Section

    A caesarean section is the name of the operation done to deliver a baby through a cut in your stomach and uterus (womb).… More

  • Flu vaccination in pregnancy  More

  • Gestational Diabetes More

  • HIV screening in pregnancy More

  • Induction of Labour, pain relief and help during birth

  • Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR)

    In a very small number of pregnancies, the baby may not grow as well as in a normal pregnancy.… More

  • Obstetric Ultrasound More

  • Post Natal Depression More

  • Pre-eclampsia More

  • Whooping cough vaccination in Pregnancy  More

Visiting Hours

Please click here to view current visiting hours.

If you want your partner or other support person to stay with you on the ward please discuss with your LMC, in many cases this can be arranged. The Birth suite has no visiting restriction.

The general switchboard number is 09 430 4100 and ask for Te Kotuku – Maternity Unit.

There are phones in each birthing room which can be used to make local calls. Mobile phones are welcome in maternity but please be considerate of others if sharing a room.


Meals and refreshments are provided throughout the day for all women admitted for maternity care. For visitors tea and coffee making facilities are available on birth suite and the antenatal/postnatal ward.  A café is also available during the day on the ground floor of the hospital.

Travel Directions

The entrance to Te Kotuku is off Hospital Road, parking is available around the back of the unit.  There is short-term drop off for clinics at the front.  For emergency entrance after office hours finish at 8pm, then entrance is around the back of the unit, there is a door bell to use.  Please discuss with your LMC.

The lactation consultancy team is available at the hospital to see all women who require additional assistance with breastfeeding or who wish to discuss feeding issues. The team is also available to see women antenatally, by referral or at free drop-in clinics held at Te Puawai Ora, 18 Commerce Street, Whangārei. Clinic times are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 10am until 2pm.


There is a public car park around the back of the Te Kotuku Maternity Unit as above.


The Whānau House on Hospital Road has limited spaces available for family members who need somewhere to stay overnight. There is a charge for this service.

There are laundry facilities available on the lower ground floor for patient use. There is a charge associated with this.


There is a pharmacy based in the hospital, however it does not fill prescriptions for taking home. If given a prescription for medication then please fill this at a community based pharmacy.


Security officers are present twenty four hours a day and patrol the hospital grounds. The hospital is locked down at 8pm each night. Security officers are located at the entrance to the Emergency Department overnight and will attend any disturbance if called by staff members.


Contact Details

This page was last updated at 8:50AM on December 17, 2021. This information is reviewed and edited by Northland DHB Maternity Services.