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About Pregnancy, Birth and Baby

What is Pregnancy, Birth and Baby?

Pregnancy, Birth and Baby is a national Australian Government service providing support and information for expecting parents and parents of children, from birth to 5 years of age.

We support parents on the journey from pregnancy, to baby and pre-school, offering guidance and reassurance about behavioural and development concerns, such as tantrums, walking, talking or reading for children up to 5 years of age.

What support does Pregnancy, Birth and Baby provide?

Pregnancy, Birth and Baby provides free, non-judgemental emotional support and reassurance. We provide guidance on children’s growth, behaviour and development and can refer parents to local services. Our midwives/maternal child health nurses work with parents to ensure the health and wellbeing of their children and family.

Guidance and emotional support provided includes areas such as:

  • pregnancy planning - fertility, unexpected outcomes, planning for pregnancy
  • healthy pregnancy - decision making in pregnancy, relationship changes, having a healthy pregnancy, check-ups, common pregnancy discomforts
  • newborn essentials - preparing for birth, feeding and settling your baby, when birth doesn’t go to plan, you and your baby after the birth
  • becoming a parent - adjusting to parenthood, fathers, parenting styles, anxiety and postnatal depression
  • parenting (up to 5 years) - baby’s health and safety, all stages of your child’s development – eating, sleeping, walking and talking, toddler tips for tantrums and toilet training, and preschool preparation

We can offer you and your partner support and advice for your emotional needs before and after having your baby.

We are also here for you if you need to discuss pregnancy options or have suffered a pregnancy loss.

If someone calls Pregnancy, Birth and Baby and they or their child is unwell, they will be transferred to a registered nurse triage line, either healthdirect, Nurse On Call or 13Health, depending on their location.

How can I access Pregnancy, Birth and Baby?

Pregnancy, Birth and Baby provides phone and video support seven days a week (7am to midnight AET). There are 4 ways parents can access our information:

  • By phone - call 1800 882 436 to speak with a midwife/maternal child health nurse, 7am – midnight (AET), 7 days a week.
  • Video call - Pregnancy, Birth and Baby is one of the world’s first health services to offer a consumer led, secure, high quality video call option, 7am – midnight (AET), 7 days a week.
  • Online - The Pregnancy, Birth and Baby website provides information for parents on a range of topics.
  • Social media - connect with Pregnancy, Birth and Baby on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

All the information provided by Pregnancy, Birth and Baby has gone through a strict quality assurance process, and is supported by a range of trusted partners including major health organisations.

What happens when you call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby?

When contacting the Pregnancy, Birth and Baby telephone service, a caller can initially expect to hear a recorded message:

  • outlining our services
  • directing callers to contact emergency services where appropriate
  • stating all calls are recorded for training and coaching purposes
  • advising that facilities are available to turn off call recordings and/or for callers to remain anonymous
  • providing information on the privacy policy

The call will then be placed in a queue for the first available midwife/maternal child health nurse to answer. Once answered, they will:

  • introduce themselves and ask some questions to start a confidential record of the call. It should be noted that even when a caller wishes to remain anonymous, it is hoped age, postcode and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage will be provided
  • discuss the needs of the caller
  • provide information, advice, guidance, reassurance, and referrals

Callers with symptoms you may be transferred to a ‘Nurse Triage’ service for an assessment of their symptoms and the need to contact a doctor or other medical professional.

Who are maternal child health nurses?

In some parts of Australia, they might be known as ‘child and family health nurses’, but in others, such as Victoria where our nurses are registered, they are known as ‘maternal child health nurses’.

Maternal child health nurses (MCHNs) must hold qualifications as registered nurses and midwives, as well as hold a postgraduate diploma in child and family health.

This means they have experience in all aspects of pre-pregnancy advice, pregnancy care and childbirth, as well as newborn and childrens health and development.

All our maternal child health nurses have worked in hospitals or birthing centres as midwives and in community centres, supporting and consulting with families.

Some of our nurses have worked in neonatal intensive care units with premature or ill babies, while others have worked with families in sleep/settling centres.

What is video call?

Pregnancy, Birth and Baby offers a video call service, allowing you to speak to one of our nurses face-to-face. This can be really useful if you are having trouble with breastfeeding, nappies, toilet training or wrapping and swaddling your baby. We can provide practical advice and demonstrations to help you.

Find out more about the video call service.

Can I access Pregnancy, Birth and Baby on social media?

You can find Pregnancy, Birth and Baby on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Every few weeks, Pregnancy, Birth and Baby hold a forum on Facebook. Our maternal child health nurses are available for an hour to ask advice, and provide practical tips and information.

Learn more about Facebook forums.

Can I use the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS)?

You might prefer to speak with Pregnancy, Birth and Baby in your preferred language (other than English).

You can either call the translating service and then connect with Pregnancy, Birth and Baby, or you can call us first and we can arrange for a translator if it is required.

Once connection is established the call continues as per usual.

This will be at no charge to the caller.

Call the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 131 450 (available 24 hours/7 days).

What is mandatory reporting?

Pregnancy, Birth and Baby has a legal obligation to help protect the welfare and wellbeing of children.

During a call, if a maternal child health nurse suspects a child may be at risk of, or experiencing abuse or neglect, they are legally obligated to contact the appropriate state based statutory child protection authority.

This process is otherwise known as ‘mandatory reporting’.

Legal penalties may apply to Pregnancy, Birth and Baby if cases of child abuse/neglect and suspected child abuse/neglect are not reported.

Maternal child health nurses will discuss these concerns directly and openly with the caller. Callers will be encouraged to contact the appropriate child protection authority themselves to access support for themselves and/or others involved.

If a third party contacts Pregnancy, Birth and Baby with concerns regarding a child (for example, a grandmother ringing with concerns about her grandson who does not live with her), they will be given details about the relevant state based statutory child protection authority and encouraged to notify the authority directly themselves.

In all cases if the caller declines, Pregnancy, Birth and Baby will make the report on their behalf.

To find out more about mandatory reporting, please read this useful fact sheet from the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Who can use the service?

Pregnancy, Birth and Baby is a national support and information service for expecting parents and parents of children from birth to 5 years of age, their friends, and relatives. It is available to all Australians and is provided on behalf of the Australian Department of Health via Healthdirect Australia.

You can call us as many times as you like.

Our phone and video services are only available within Australia and are free and easy to use.

Both services operate between 7am and midnight (AEST), 7 days a week (including public holidays).

Last reviewed: September 2020

Call us and speak to a Maternal Child Health Nurse for personal advice and guidance.

Need further advice or guidance from our maternal child health nurses?

This information is for your general information and use only and is not intended to be used as medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes.

The information is not a substitute for independent professional advice and should not be used as an alternative to professional health care. If you have a particular medical problem, please consult a healthcare professional.

Except as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, this publication or any part of it may not be reproduced, altered, adapted, stored and/or distributed in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of Healthdirect Australia.