Every pregnancy is beautiful and unique and each mother will have her own birthing preferences which need to be considered when choosing where to seek maternity care and birthing options.
In Australia, we don’t have many dedicated maternity clinics the way that other countries have; however, most hospitals in Australia offer antenatal care and birthing options.
While your location will generally decide which hospital or health clinic you go to, you can choose whether you go private or public. Regardless of where you decide, you and your baby are sure to be in good hands, but when making your decision there are a few things you should consider.
Public or Private Hospital
Both public and private hospitals offer great maternity services that will ensure you and your baby are safe and healthy pre, during and post birth.
Public hospitals are a perfectly safe and affordable option for maternity care and birthing.
In a public hospital you will be mostly treated by experienced midwives, and will have a doctor on standby to help with any complications. Depending on the size and amount of patients in the hospital, you may be able to have the same midwife or doctor for your pregnancy, labour and birth.
The birthing environment will depend on the hospital itself, but many will have birthing suites with birthing pools, heat packs, showers and other related equipment. Some public hospitals also have either closeby or attached maternity units with beds and shared facilities so you and your partner can stay close until you go into labour.
These units are especially used for high risk pregnancies or for patients who live far away from their chosen hospital.
To keep your birth as affordable as possible, eligible Medicare card holders are entitled to have most of the costs associated with giving birth in a hospital covered by Medicare.
Private hospitals offer a safe and comfortable environment with high quality maternity and birthing care.
If you decide to go private you will likely meet your private obstetrician to discuss your birth plan prior to going into labour. Many obstetricians have a specified hospital that they work in and so will help book you into their private hospital.
When you first go into labour and get to the hospital you will be treated by midwives who are in close contact with your obstetrician until they arrive. They will also check in with you and your baby after the birth to ensure everything is as expected.
Private hospital birthing suites have all the same equipment that public hospitals do, as well as the option to request an extra bed so your partner can stay the night.
Most private patients will stay in hospital for 4-5 days after giving birth just to ensure both the mother and child are healthy.
Private health care is more expensive in Australia than public, however many of these costs can be offset if you have private health insurance.
There are some special circumstances where you may need to adjust your birth plan to ensure a healthy delivery.
Obstetricians have specialised skills to manage any complications, however private hospitals may not always have the necessary medical facilities. In this case you may be advised to transfer to a public maternity hospital with more medical facilities.
Similarly, if you happen to go into labour prematurely you will likely be transported to a public hospital with an established neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or special care nursery (SCN) so you and your newborn can receive the care you require.
If you go through Dr Kelvin, you will likely go through the Buderim private hospital. Here the cut off for the nursery is 32 weeks. This means if your baby is likely to be born before 32 weeks they would transfer you to a public hospital. Ideally this is done before birth if it’s safe, otherwise the transfer would happen after birth if necessary.
Your health professionals will do their best to ensure your birth experience is as positive, comfortable and smooth as possible.
Sunshine Coast Obstetrician
Dr Kelvin Larwood is a highly qualified obstetrician and gynaecologist who is passionate about helping ensure you and your baby are healthy and cared for throughout your pregnancy and birth.
You can read more about his maternity care services here.