Wondering where to give birth in Australia? Aussie mums-to-be are typically choosing from the following 5 options:
1. Public Hospital
Most Australian babies are born in public hospitals. As of 2016, 72 percent of Australian births occurred in public hospitals, according to Sbs.com.au.
There are multiple reasons for this. Public hospitals are broadly available in Australia, and the costs for these births are covered by Australia’s universal health care system. The care offered in public hospitals is accessible to women undergoing high-risk pregnancies, whereas a couple of the other options on this list are not usually easily accessible if certain risk factors are present. Taken together, these things make public hospital birth the most easily accessible option in Australia.
Many women have given birth in public hospitals without paying any money at all out of pocket. However, there could be instances where a fee would be due for certain out-of-hospital services, including scans that aren’t bulk-billed by the provider.
2. Private Hospital
Private hospital births accounted for 28 percent of the total in Australia as of the year 2016. High cost is the primary reason for its lesser degree of popularity; in the private system, people must usually either pay for their own care out of pocket or claim for reimbursement through private health insurance. A family health insurance policy will typically cover part of the costs, but not all of them; it is common for a private childbirth to cost about $3,000 out of pocket. However, it is possible for the costs to be higher than this, particularly in cases where many interventions are performed.
3. At a Birthing Centre
Birthing centre births comprise about 2 percent of the total in Australia. This percentage is low because there are not many birthing centres available in Australia. Birthing centre births are affordable, as they are typically covered by both Medicare and private health insurance.
Beyond the affordability, there are several other advantages to giving birth in a birthing centre. The first is that the environment allows for more personal freedom of movement. It is also more comfortable and less clinical. Another advantage is that medical interventions are far less likely – but this is only beneficial for women who prefer not to have interventions. If you want a C-section or an epidural, a birthing centre birth is not a suitable option for you, because this type of facility is not generally equipped to provide such services.
4. At Home
In normal times, it’s typical for home births to make up only .3 percent of the total numbers. In the aftermath of COVID-19, home birth has become much more popular, but it still makes up only a minority of the total births in Australia.
Some home births are paid for by Medicare under government-subsidised home birth programs. There are not many of these operating in the country, and they tend to only be available in cases where the pregnancy does not include any unusual risk factors.
It is also possible to hire a private home birth midwife at a typical cost of $3,550 – $6,000. Midwives set their own prices, so it is possible that the costs for this sort of care could differ substantially.
5. Somewhere Else?
Somewhere around 0.3 percent of Australian babies are born in unintentional locations such as taxicabs and ambulances. Obviously, this is a situation you wouldn’t try to plan for, but it does happen.
We don’t have any statistics on how many Australian mamas give birth in other countries, but it is reasonable to believe that this happens with some small percentage of births.
You’re now updated on the most popular, and not-so-popular, options for where to give birth in Australia. If you’re wondering where you should give birth, it’s worth carefully considering these options, talking to your GP and soliciting input from the family and friends who will be supporting you during your antenatal care and labour.
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