About the National Maternity Record

Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand is supporting a national maternity record system (called the Perinatal Spine). This will enable health care provision whenever and wherever pregnant people and their babies need care.  Participating health care providers, in the community and in hospital and birthing facilities will be able to securely and swiftly share the related records of care.

This shared care record has been in place since 2014 and is now expanding to welcome more pregnant people, and health care providers, throughout New Zealand.

What information is collected

Health care providers will continue to create their own records when they provide care to you and will have access to their own records, as they always have. Much of this information will be collected directly from you. Some information may be collected as a result of test or scan results in relation to your care.

Your health care provider will also share some of that information with the Perinatal Spine to form the shared care record. This Perinatal Spine shared care record will hold, and share, standardised information about each pregnant person and baby. This information is set out in the clinically designed Maternity Care Summary Standard HISO 10050.2.2022. This standard includes administrative and clinical information about each person’s care. This will cover the time period from first contact with your health care provider up until six weeks after the birth of your baby or babies.

The Perinatal Spine is being introduced in different Phases.

  • Phase One will involve booking information and contact details being sent electronically from maternity care providers in the community to the relevant birth facility in preparation for an upcoming birth. This Phase will commence in August 2023.
  • Phase Two will involve the ability for participating health care providers to contribute some clinical details related to labour and birth, and post birth and newborn baby to a shared care record. This Phase is expected to be in place by October 2023.
  • Phase Three will add postnatal person and baby records and will be in place before the end of 2023.
  • Phase Four will include all records as specified in the Maternity Care Summary Standard and is expected to be complete by the end of June 2024.

By the time of the Phase Four implementation, if you decide that you do not want to participate in the shared care record you may tell your health care provider that you do not wish your information to be disclosed in the Perinatal Spine, and ask for a ‘Do Not Share’ setting to be applied to your records. The information will still be collected onto the Spine, but other users will not be able to access it unless you need emergency care, or you give your consent to that access. If you ask for a ‘Do Not Share’ setting to be applied to your pregnancy records, care will still be provided to you, but the benefits of a shared care record will not be available to you, and some providers may not be able to quickly access the information relevant to your care.

Who may see and access this information?

Health care providers

The information held on the shared care record will be securely available online to any participating health care provider within the community, or in a hospital or facility. They may only access this information if they are responsible for providing care for you, in an emergency or if you agree for them to access the information.


If they need to access the information, they can use their secure login and access it at any time, and do not need to wait for a copy of your notes to be sent by another practitioner. This is the shared care benefit of this National Maternity Record. This access will be subject to the Do Not Share setting if it is applied to your file, once it is available (in Phase Four).

Statistical and reporting activities

There will be limited information sent to government agencies (as is currently the case). This will include, for example, information to register births, record immunisations, enroll the newborn with a Primary Health Organisation and to prepare statistical reports.


The information is also used to help plan health resources and strategies, monitor service quality, review services used, financial audit of payment claims by service providers and contribute to national collections. Any research will be subject to standard ethical requirements.


Any reports produced will contain information only on a non-identifiable statistical basis.

Your portal access

Pregnant people can have access to a summary of their pregnancy record on their own devices if their health care provider offers that option. Access would be via a patient portal that will be offered by their community care provider.


Your portal access will be set up by your health care providers.

  • Once you have access, you can decide who to share those records with.
  • This also enables you to capture some personal information about your intentions for your own care. The record enables some communication with a health care provider, but not about urgent clinical matters. For urgent and clinical matters you must still communicate directly with your health care provider.

How the Spine will protect your privacy

Your personal information is held and managed in accordance with the Privacy Act and Health Information Privacy Code.

Each health care provider has professional obligations to manage your healthcare information securely.

All access to the Perinatal Spine by health care providers is tracked, and can be audited

Information is held on a Microsoft Azure platform in Australia. The supplier for the Perinatal Spine has committed to using a New Zealand-hosted Azure data centre once that service becomes readily available.

How long your information will be kept for

Your health care provider will hold records about you as required by the Health (Retention of Health Information) Regulations 1996. Maternal health care records must be retained for a minimum of 20 years, and paediatric information for a minimum of 20 years or until the child is 25 years old (whichever is the greater).

The records in the Perinatal Spine will be retained for these timeframes and also as required by the Public Records Act. Some of the information may be stored indefinitely for the following reasons:

  • There are people who want to see what information has been collected about them. Information stored about a particular person may still have relevance to them and their descendants in the future.
  • For research and statistical purposes. The information in the Perinatal Spine will be valuable in regard to research, particularly in terms of long-term trends, population comparisons and health equity. No person’s identity will be disclosed in any reports produced.

Accessing or changing your information

To view any personal information held by the Spine about you, or if you have any concerns or questions about the personal information that is held on the Spine and wish to request a correction, please contact your health care provider first.

If you have any additional privacy questions, or if your health care provider has not responded, please contact us:



Write to:

The Privacy Officer
Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand
PO Box 5013

We may require proof of your identity before being able to provide you with any personal information.

If you are not satisfied with our response to any privacy concerns, you can contact the Office of the Privacy Commissioner

Contact us – Privacy Commissioner