If you are pregnant and live in rural or remote New South Wales, you can use this page to find out how to get care and support during your pregnancy, labour and birth. You’ll also find links to websites where you can get more information to suit your individual circumstances.
Your choice of caregivers
In rural and remote New South Wales, you can often choose the type of health professional or team you would like to care for you during your pregnancy and at the birth. You might have 4 choices:
- publicly funded midwives, who work in a midwifery group practice at local hospitals or health centres. Some public hospital midwifery group practices also offer homebirth services
- privately practising registered midwives, who might be covered by Medicare
- 'shared maternity care' involving your doctor and midwives and doctors at a local hospital
- a private obstetrician, either at a public or a private hospital
It is best for you and your baby to have the same caregiver throughout your pregnancy, birth and early parenting. Most public hospitals offer continuity of care programs through midwives, which means the same midwife or team of midwives will care for you.
To help you choose the type of care that is best for you, and to read all about pregnancy, birth and feeding your baby, see the Having a Baby book from NSW Health.
Options for place of birth
Depending on where you live and whether your pregnancy is low or high risk, you might be able to choose the place where you give birth. Weigh up the decision with your partner, family and doctor or health professional. There are 4 options:
- In a public hospital you can receive maternity care from hospital midwives and doctors if medical care is needed. It is usually free, with costs covered by Medicare. In some hospitals, your doctor may be able to share the care with hospital staff. Some public hospitals also provide private care, which means you can choose your own doctor or private obstetrician to care for you. However, you might need private health insurance to access the private care option.
- A private hospital offers similar services, but you’ll need private health insurance in place before you become pregnant to cover the cost.
- A public birth centre is suitable for women with healthy low-risk pregnancies. The costs are covered by Medicare. You can be transferred to hospital during labour if complications arise or if you request it.
- A home birth can be suitable for women with healthy low-risk pregnancies. You can be transferred to hospital during labour if complications arise or if you request it. Talk to your local hospital or health facility to find out what help you can get if you need it urgently. You might need to find out what road or air ambulance services are available, and/or making a back-up booking during pregnancy at the nearest large hospital. Some costs for eligible midwives are covered by Medicare.
Find information here on the hospitals and health services in your area.
Support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women
Birthing on country
Birthing on country is a program that encourages health services to offer Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women the chance to have a culturally appropriate birth. That will mean different things to different women in different parts of Australia. Ask your local midwife, Aboriginal health service, hospital, birthing centre or primary health network what is available where you live.
Travelling long distances to give birth?
If you need to travel a long distance to a hospital or health facility to give birth, you should plan ahead carefully. It’s safer for you and your baby to be within an hour of a hospital. Unfortunately, this might mean it’s difficult for you to stay at home towards the end of your pregnancy.
If you need to travel a long distance from home to access care, you might be able to claim back some of your travel and accommodation expenses through the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS).
Download NSW Health’s Having a Baby book here.
At any time during your pregnancy, you can call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby on 1800 882 436 or try video call to speak face-to-face with one of our maternal child health nurses. Video call is available 7am to midnight (AEST), 7 days a week and is free of charge. To find out more, visit our video call page.
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Last reviewed: December 2020