In New Zealand, maternity services are classified according to the level of complexity of clinical care a woman and her baby require – either primary, secondary or tertiary. A range of practitioners contribute to the provision of antenatal care (midwives, general practitioners (GPs), obstetricians, radiologists and childbirth educators), in a range of settings (the woman’s home, consulting rooms, primary maternity facilities and hospitals).
Maternity services are a crucial part of public health services. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that ‘care for pregnant women is often the entry point for health services for the family and community’ (WHO 2005). Monitoring maternal and newborn health is, therefore, an integral part of monitoring the health of the overall population.