Private hospital

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Parent story - private hospital birth

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.

Pregnancy 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.

Around the day of the birth

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:

  • You pay for appointments with your obstetrician. Costs might vary. You can get part of the cost of each appointment back from Medicare. Many obstetricians also have an extra fee for managing your pregnancy.
  • Medicare and your private health fund will pay for at least some of your hospital stay. But depending on your private health insurance arrangements, you might also have some extra fees to pay.
  • There will be costs for tests and ultrasound scans. You can often get some money back through Medicare.
  • There might be a cost for antenatal classes. Check with your fund for possible rebates.
  • Check with your midwife or obstetrician about any other costs. For example, if you have a caesarean there will be costs for the anaesthetic.
Health insurance

To find private health funds and compare their prices and policies, visit

Choosing a private hospital setting/booking in

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.

Other things to think about

If you live rurally, you might not have a private hospital in your area.

Here are some other things to think about:

  • Your health – if you or your baby has significant health problems, you might need to be transferred to a large public maternity hospital where there are specialists.
  • Private hospitals have a higher rate of birth interventions and caesarean.
  • The hospital’s approach to care, family members and visitors.
  • Different hospitals have different facilities and services during and after birth.

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.

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