Find out what you need to know about having a baby in the ACT. From seeing a doctor, midwife or obstetrician to finding a hospital, this guide will help you during your pregnancy.
Your first step is to see your doctor. They will be able to discuss your pregnancy with you including the care and birth options available to you. Your doctor can also organise the initial blood tests and ultrasounds, and will continue to provide your general health care during the pregnancy regardless of your chosen model of antenatal care.
Antenatal care is the care you receive during pregnancy. You can choose to have a midwife, doctor or an obstetrician as your main carer. All services provided by the public health system are free of charge to a Medicare cardholder. Private health practitioners will charge fees for their services, some of which will attract a Medicare and/or health fund rebate.
When you have decided where you would like to have your baby, upon booking in, ask what classes are available for you to attend. These classes can be very helpful to you and are worth going to as you prepare for birth and taking your baby home.
Options for pregnancy care and childbirth
Your doctor may be able to provide antenatal care in conjunction with a midwife. This is called ‘shared care’ and is available at both of the public hospitals. You will see your doctor at their practice for most of your pregnancy check-ups and will see the midwife or doctor at the antenatal clinic at the hospital. If there are complications, you may be referred to an obstetrician.
Shared care is available at Centenary Hospital for Women and Children, and Calvary Health Care ACT Public Hospital.
Midwives are health care professionals specially trained to provide care throughout your pregnancy, birth and postnatal period. Midwives work in the public health system or privately as independently practising midwives. If a midwife is your primary carer, they will liaise with other healthcare practitioners as needed. Even if a midwife is not your primary carer this does not exclude you from consulting a midwife.
Midwifery care is available at Centenary Hospital for Women and Children, and Calvary Health Care ACT Public Hospital. Private midwifery care is also available in the Canberra area.
Obstetricians are medical specialists who are trained in the care of women during pregnancy and childbirth. Midwives or doctors may consult them in the event of complications. Obstetricians can provide pregnancy care and attend your baby’s birth in a public or private hospital. If you need or choose to see an obstetrician you can attend a public hospital antenatal clinic or be referred by a doctor to see one privately.
Not all private obstetricians practise at all Canberra hospitals. When booking with a private obstetrician you will need to ask which hospital/s you are able to birth at.
Listed below are web links to where you can obtain antenatal care in the ACT.
Centenary Hospital for Women and Children (at Canberra Hospital), Garran ACT
Calvary Public Hospital, Bruce ACT
Calvary Private Hospital, Bruce ACT
Calvary John James Hospital, Deakin ACT
Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service
Pregnancy, Birth, and Baby
Pregnancy, Birth, and Baby provides information, advice and support 7am and midnight (AET), all year round. Speak to a maternal child health nurse on 1800 882 436 or video call.
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Last reviewed: December 2018