How do I choose where to have my baby?

How do I choose where to have my baby?

There are so many things to think about when having a baby and two of the most important decisions to make on this journey are whether to go privately or publicly and where to have your baby.

As Queensland’s largest maternity hospital, Mater Mothers’ provides a wide variety of pregnancy care options for both private and publicly funded women.

Should I choose private or public care?

This decision to go private or public will mostly depend on whether you have private health insurance cover that includes obstetric care. The details, waiting periods and excess amounts vary from one policy to another, so the first step is to check it out with your health fund.

What are the benefits of private care?

If you choose private care during your pregnancy you can expect continuity of care throughout your entire journey. This includes your choice of specialist obstetrician for antenatal appointments, during labour and delivery and for postnatal follow up appointments.

During labour care will be provided by your chosen specialist obstetrician with the support of one of Mater’s midwives.

When you are in hospital you will have your own private ensuited room with the option for your partner to stay in hospital with you.

You will also have access to in-room entertainment, complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi and receive your choice of meal options from our room service menu.

How do I choose my private obstetrician?

Choosing which private obstetrician you want to see can be a difficult decision to make.

You may already know (or know of) an obstetrician you would like to see, so it can be as easy as seeing your GP for a referral.

If you don’t already have one in mind try talking to your GP, or friends and family to see if there is anyone they can recommend. Personal recommendation can go a long way!

As we all know, babies don’t just come between 9am and 5pm from Monday to Friday. They can come at any time of the day or night and none of us are able to be available all of the time.

Some private obstetricians practice independently and may sometimes have made arrangements for a colleague to care for their patients when they are occasionally unavailable.

Others work in a small team of private obstetricians (often with shared antenatal and on-call arrangements), and some work in groups with midwives who may or may not also be involved during labour care.

Most of our private obstetricians have websites with information about themselves and  their areas of interest. You can view their information here.

When should I book in with a private obstetrician?

Many obstetricians accept a limited number of patients per month and some may book out quickly. It’s a good idea to get a referral to your preferred obstetrician early in your pregnancy, and make an appointment to see them before the end of your first trimester.

What about public care?

If you are a publically funded patient the hospital where your baby is born will mostly be determined by the geography of where you live and which catchment area you fall into. The type of care you receive as a public patient depends on whether your pregnancy is relatively straightforward (also known as low risk) or whether you have any risk factors or complications.

Women with low risk pregnancies will generally have the majority of their antenatal care provided by midwives or their GP. Input will be provided from the obstetric team at the booking-in visit, around the 12 to 20 week mark, and later on during pregnancy on an as needed basis.

Women with more complex pregnancies will have more involvement and oversight from obstetric doctors during their pregnancy.

There are always doctors available in our antenatal clinics, our Pregnancy Assessment Centre and birthing suite 24 hours a day, but you are unlikely to see the same doctor each time.

When it comes to labour and birth your care will largely be provided by midwives, with involvement from the on-site obstetric team when required.

If you are having a planned (elective) caesarean this will be performed by the obstetric doctor rostered on that day.

The team of public obstetric doctors includes specialist obstetricians, obstetricians-in-training and junior doctors. Your care won’t always be provided directly by a specialist obstetrician, but one is available if needed 24 hours a day.

When you are in hospital you will usually have a shared room with another woman (and her baby if you are in a postnatal ward) and a shared bathroom.

For privacy reasons, your partner or support person is not able to stay overnight with you. The length of time you stay in hospital after the baby is born is generally shorter than for women receiving privately funded care.

So how do I decide?

Ultimately the decision is up to you.  We’ve covered off some of the major differences but there are many more reasons why you may prefer one option over another.

There are a number of different options available, and as Queensland’s largest maternity hospital we have one that will suit you.


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For urgent assessment at any stage of your pregnancy, please present to your nearest emergency centre or Mater Mothers’ 24/7 Pregnancy Assessment Centre in South Brisbane.

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