- Depending on where you live, you may be able to choose where you give birth.
- You may also be able to choose the types of health professional or team that will care for you during your pregnancy.
- If you live in a remote part of the Northern Territory, your choices may be limited, based on what services are available in your region.
- If you travel a long distance from home, you might be able to claim some travel and accommodation costs through the Patient Assistance Travel Scheme.
- Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people may be able to access special programs such as Birthing on Country or the Strong women, strong babies, strong culture program — ask your doctor or health worker for more information.
What are my options for maternity services?
In remote parts of the Northern Territory, you can choose the type of health professional or team you would like to care for you during your pregnancy. You can choose between 3 types of maternity services:
- Publicly funded midwives work in Alice Springs, Darwin, Tennant Creek, Gove and Katherine. If you live in a remote area, you might be able to get pregnancy care in your local community from midwives, and then travel to a hospital to give birth.
- Your doctor may be able to share care with the midwives and doctors at a local clinic or hospital. This is known as a ‘shared care’ arrangement.
- Pregnancy care by a private obstetrician (a specialist doctor who provides medical care during pregnancy and birth) is available in Darwin and Alice Springs.
It is best to have the same health professional care for you throughout your pregnancy, birth, and early parenting. Some public hospitals offer continuity of care programs. These programs are based on using the same midwife, or team of midwives (such as a midwifery group practice) who care for you and your baby.
Where can I give birth?
Depending on where you live, you might be able to choose where you give birth. Your options might include one or more of the following:
- Public hospitals — Darwin, Alice Springs, Gove, Tennant Creek and Katherine all have public hospitals where you can receive pregnancy care from hospital midwives. Doctors are also available if you or your baby need them. Cost of care in a public hospital are usually covered by Medicare.
- Public hospitals in Alice Springs and Tennant Creek also provide private care. This means you can choose your own private doctor or obstetrician to care for you. If you have it, private health insurance can help you cover some of the costs.
- Darwin Private Hospital also has maternity services. Private health insurance can help cover some of the costs, if you have it.
- Birth centres in Darwin and Alice Springs are suitable for people with healthy low-risk pregnancies. The costs are covered by Medicare. You can choose to go to hospital during labour, or if there are problems.
- A home birth may be an option for people with healthy low-risk pregnancies. Publicly funded home births are only available in Darwin or Alice Springs. Learn more about home birth services in those centres.
What support is there for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people?
Birthing on Country
Birthing on Country is a program that encourages health services to offer Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people access to culturally safe and appropriate maternity care. This will mean different things to different people, in different parts of Australia. Ask your local midwife, Aboriginal health service, hospital, birthing centre or primary health network about what is available.
Strong women, strong babies, strong culture program
If you are pregnant and from Canteen Creek, Utopia or Yuendumu, you can access the Strong women, strong babies, strong culture program (SWSBSC). The SWSBSC Program combines both traditional Aboriginal, and current Western knowledge, to promote good health in people and babies during pregnancy and early parenting.
What if I need to travel long distances to give birth?
If you live in a remote area, you may be able to access pregnancy care in your community for up to 37 weeks of your pregnancy. Ask your doctor or your local community health clinic.
Once you are 37 weeks pregnant, you will need to travel to a hospital to prepare for the birth of your baby. Depending on where you live, your local community clinic will arrange your travel and accommodation, in one of these hospitals:
- Alice Springs Hospital
- Gove District Hospital
- Katherine Hospital
- Royal Darwin Hospital
- Tennant Creek Hospital
If the hospital is a long distance from your home, you might be able to claim back some of your travel and accommodation costs through the Patient Assistance Travel Scheme (PATS).
Resources and support
Speak to a maternal child health nurse
Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby to speak to a maternal child health nurse on 1800 882 436 or video call. Available 7am to midnight (AET), 7 days a week.
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Last reviewed: April 2023