Need to talk? Call 1800 882 436.
It's a free call with a maternal child health nurse. *call charges may apply from your mobile

Is it an emergency? Dial 000
If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately.

beginning of content

Maternity services in rural Queensland

4-minute read

If you are pregnant and live in rural or remote Queensland, 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 Queensland, 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.

Depending on where you live, you can be cared for by:

  • publicly funded midwives, such as those in a midwifery group practice at local hospitals or a health centre
  • a private registered midwife
  • 'shared maternity care' involving your GP and the midwives and doctors at a local hospital
  • a private obstetrician

It is best for you and your baby if you have the same caregiver throughout your pregnancy, birth and early parenting.

The type of care you receive is known as a 'model of maternity care'.

Options for place of birth

Depending on the area you live in 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 four options:

  • In a public hospital, where your maternity care can usually be shared among some combination of your doctor, hospital doctors, midwives and obstetricians. It is usually free, with costs covered by Medicare. Some public hospitals also provide private care, which means you can choose your own private obstetrician or midwife to care for you. However, you might need private health insurance to access the private care option. A map of Queensland’s rural and remote public hospitals and health services is available from Queensland Health.
  • 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 healthy low-risk pregnancies. The costs are covered by Medicare. There are birth centres at Toowoomba, Townsville and Mackay. You can be transferred to hospital during labour if complications arise or if you request it.
  • A home birth may be suitable for healthy low-risk pregnancies. You can be transferred to hospital during labour if complications arise or if you request it. Some costs for eligible midwives are covered by Medicare.

If your pregnancy is thought to be high risk, you will need to be close to a hospital that offers specialist services. Talk to your doctor or a midwife about this.

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.

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 make a back-up booking during pregnancy at the nearest large hospital. Some rural and remote centres may be visited by the Queensland Flying Obstetric/Gynaecology Service and/or Newborn Emergency Transport Services.

A back-up plan is particularly important if you’re planning a home birth. You and your midwife need to have a practical plan in case of unexpected events. If you can’t work out a back-up plan, then it’s not a good idea to go ahead with a home birth.

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 Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme (PTSS).

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: December 2018


Back To Top

Need more information?

Rural and remote living

Find out what eHealth support, rural health services and other support services are available to you and your family living in the country and rural areas.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Rural issues - coping with stress - Better Health Channel

The effort of trying to provide for the family and keep the farm going can be intensely stressful.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Rural mental health

Living in a rural community can be a life enriching experience that many urbanites just don’t understand. Dealing with the impacts of the unpredictable and dramatic Australian weather and elements builds an amazing resilience in rural communities, but often comes at a cost.

Read more on Lifeline website

Maternity services in rural NSW

Find out what maternity services are available in rural or remote NSW

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Rural health

In NSW, there are 15 local health districts responsible for providing health services in a wide range of settings, from primary care posts in the remote outback to metropolitan tertiary health centres. Seven of these LHDs comprise rural areas.

Read more on NSW Health website

Health services for rural families

Learn more about rural health services such as the Patient Assisted Travel scheme, telehealth, access to hospitals, pregnancy and childbirth care.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Financial support for rural families

Many families with children and babies live in rural and remote areas. Find out what financial assistance is available to families in the country.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Maternity services in rural South Australia

Find out what maternity services are available in rural or remote South Australia

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Education for rural families

Learn more about the options for education for your child in rural areas from childcare facilities and early learning programs to going to school.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Rural child safety

Learn more about child safety on farms and rural properties such as water hazards, animal stings and bites and sun safety and what to do if your child is injured.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

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.