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Birth Centres & Other Options

Discover alternative options to a conventional hospital birth.

If your ideal birth involves having as little medical intervention as possible, then opt for a birth centre. You need to be in the low-risk category for a birthing centre delivery. Many of these centres are attached to large public hospitals but offer a more relaxed environment in which to give birth. It may be worth finding out how busy or full the centre is as sometimes mothers are moved to hospital wards if the centre is full. On a positive side, mothers can be quickly transferred to hospitals if needed. Medicare covers public patients. Many clinics schedule appointment times to cut waiting times. Birthing centres are staffed by midwives offering antenatal classes and help you through delivery. You may employ an independent midwife if the centre allows it. An obstetrician is usually on-call if needed during the birth. With private insurance, you could arrange to have available your own obstetrician.

Hospital-affiliated Birth Centre

Some birth centres are not attached to hospitals. Usually you will have to pay more for this service and you will need to check if whether your health insurance covers the one you choose and if you are entitled to a Medicare refund.

Independant Birth Centre

Some birth centres are not attached to hospitals. Usually you will have to pay more for this service and you will need to check if whether your health insurance covers the one you choose and if you are entitled to a Medicare refund.

Home Birth

One or two midwives usually attend a home birth. You may choose to have an obstetrician present as well though your choice may be limited by the fact that few obstetricians want to be involved in home births due to the risk and issue of insurance.

Different health funds have different policies on home births. Check to see if Medicare or private funding covers the doctor’s involvement. Medicare usually covers home births attended by a doctor/obstetrician but not those attended by midwives only. A small refund is usually available for the cost of the birth and any postnatal visits by domicilary nurses. Sometimes it’s worth negotiating part-payment for an independent midwife. If you are planning a home birth, consider ambulance cover in case of emergency.

Other Options

Special Clinics

Clinics designed for women with high-risk pregnancies. Appointments will be more frequent and at each visit an obstetrician will see you.

Team Midwifery Programme

Offered at certain hospitals, you will be seen by the same team of midwives from your first appointment, through labour and for postnatal care.

Midwives Clinic

This is the most common service providing midwives during your clinic visits and an obstetrician or staff registrar to deliver your baby.

Shared Care

This is a team approach to your pregnancy. It is a common choice of antenatal care in Australia. It could comprise:

  • a combination of visits to your doctor and local hospital
  • a community health centre and hospital
  • a team of independent midwives who visit you at home along with a public/private hospital obstetrician



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