In this short video, mums share their experience of pregnancy and birth care in a private hospital setting.
If you choose your obstetrician first, this usually determines which private hospital you go to for the birth.
If you don’t have your own obstetrician, you can call the private hospital first then choose from a list of obstetricians who go to that hospital. With private hospitals, you and your private health fund, if you have one, pay for most of your care.
Your appointments are likely to be with your own obstetrician or team of obstetricians at their private consulting rooms. Many private obstetricians employ a midwife to help with routine checks, organise tests and scans and give information about pregnancy and childbirth.
Birth classes will be offered in one of your early appointments.
When you phone the hospital, the midwife in the birth suite will talk to you about what's happening and discuss the best time for you to come into hospital.
During labour and birth you might be cared for by a few different hospital midwives, who will stay in close phone contact with your obstetrician. Your obstetrician will usually check you during your labour and will come for the birth. If you have a caesarean, your obstetrician will usually do the operation.
After the birth, the midwives will care for you. Your obstetrician will visit and check that you and baby are OK. Most women under the care of their obstetrician stay in hospital for four days after a vaginal birth, and five days after a caesarean. But if you and your obstetrician are happy, you might be able to go home earlier.
If you’re planning to use your private health insurance, you’ll need cover that includes maternity care. Keep in mind some health funds have a long waiting period before you can claim pregnancy expenses. Check your health fund for costs, waiting periods, coverage and out-of-pocket expenses.
If you don’t have private health insurance, you can still choose private care, but there will be quite big costs. It’s also possible to be a private patient in a public hospital, which reduces some costs. If you’re interested in this option, contact the public hospital and ask if they have a private patient liaison officer that you can speak to.
Here are some of the costs you can expect with private hospitals:
To find private health funds and compare their prices and policies, visit PrivateHealth.gov.au.
You need to see your GP to get a referral to an obstetrician. Or you can choose your birthing hospital and get a list of obstetricians who work there.
At your first appointment with the obstetrician, the obstetrician will go through your hospital options and book you into the hospital. Some hospitals have online virtual tours or information nights or hospital tours. Call the hospitals that you’re interested in to ask about these options.
If you live rurally, you might not have a private hospital in your area.
Here are some other things to think about:
Knowing your options and talking about them with your midwife or doctor could help you feel more prepared and happier about your pregnancy and birth experience in the long run.