Your Rights During Pregnancy and Birth

Your Rights During Pregnancy and Birth

MĀMĀ Jess Britten @hallweneed
PHOTOGRAPHY Liv Buchanan @livbuchanan_

In New Zealand, by law, during your pregnancy and birth you have the right:

  • To be treated with respect, including respect for your cultural and religious beliefs, values, and customs.
  • To have your privacy respected.
  • To freedom from discrimination, coercion, harassment, and exploitation.
  • To dignity and independence.
  • To receive professional treatment and care from skilled staff.
  • To choose your lead maternity carer/s and to change your lead maternity carer/s at any time.
  • To choose where and how you will birth.
  • To have everything you need to know carefully and effectively communicated to you.
  • To have a competent interpreter present where necessary.
  • To have any of your questions answered, in order for you to make an informed choice for you and your baby’s care.
  • To be informed of the expected risks, side effects, benefits, and costs of any treatment offered or recommended to you.
  • To give your informed consent to receive or to refuse any treatment, test or procedure offered to you.
  • To change your mind about your choices and withdraw your consent at any time.
  • To view any information held about you and correct it if required.
  • To receive the results of your tests and/or procedures.
  • To refuse to take part in any research project or to withdraw from a research project at any time.
  • To have a support person present.
  • To lay a complaint about your healthcare provider.

If you feel that your rights during your pregnancy or birth have been breached and you wish to lay a complaint, you can do so with the Health and Disability Commissioner at or by calling 0800 11 22 33. If you are unhappy with your midwife or you have concerns about their conduct, contact the New Zealand College of Midwives at

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