Birth centres offer care that gives healthy women with an uncomplicated pregnancy the chance to have a positive, ongoing relationship with a midwife or group of midwives. It is suitable for women who hope to have minimal intervention in their birth.
Women are often happier with their birth experience when they have the same person, or group of people, looking after them through pregnancy, labour and birth. They also have higher breastfeeding success and fewer birth interventions. Studies done in Australia show that women who give birth in a birth centre have lower birth intervention rates.
In a birth centre, you’re cared for by a midwife or team of midwives during pregnancy, birth and after the birth. Your pregnancy appointments are likely to be at the birth centre.
Seeing the same midwife or small group of midwives through pregnancy can help women feel more comfortable and confident about asking questions and talking about different aspects of their pregnancy, lifestyle and home situation.
Where to find midwifery-led care
Birth centres can book up very early so book in early to avoid missing out. If you think you might be pregnant, see your GP as soon as possible to start your pregnancy care. Your GP will refer you to the birth centre if it’s one nearby.
If you want to book into a birth centre but can’t for whatever reason, ask your GP about other options for having one-to-one care from a midwife. For example, you might be able to go to a midwifery group practice in a public hospital.
Cost of midwifery-led care
If you’re eligible for Medicare, this covers the cost of your pregnancy care with midwives.