- You may be able to choose the types of health professional or team that will care for you during your pregnancy.
- If you travel a long distance from home, you might be able to claim some travel and accommodation costs through the patient travel subsidy scheme.
- Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people may be able to access special programs such as Birthing on Country.
- Ask your doctor or health worker for more information about how to access these programs.
What are my options for maternity services?
It’s your choice who you would like to care for you during your pregnancy, during and after the birth.
In rural and remote Queensland, depending on where you live, you might be cared for by:
- publicly funded midwives, such as those in a midwifery group practice at a local hospital or a health centre. Most public hospitals offer continuity of care programs through midwives. This means the same midwife or team of midwives will care for you through your pregnancy and labour. You will usually need a doctor’s referral to access a hospital-based midwife.
- privately practising registered midwives, who might be covered by Medicare. You may be able to choose whether to have your baby in hospital or at home.
- 'shared maternity care', where your care is shared between your GP and the midwives and doctors at a local hospital
- a private obstetrician, either at a public or a private hospital
It is best for you to have the same health professional throughout your pregnancy, birth and early parenting.
Where can I give birth?
It’s your choice where to give birth.
Depending on where you live and if your pregnancy is low or high risk, your doctor may suggest that some options are more or less suitable for you.
Your options might include one or more of the following:
- Public care at a public hospital — you can receive pregnancy care from hospital midwives in all public hospitals. Doctors are also available if you or your baby need them. The costs of care in a public hospital are usually covered by Medicare.
- Private care at a public hospital — this means you can choose your own private doctor or obstetrician to care for you. Private health insurance can help cover some of the costs, if you have it. A map of Queensland’s rural and remote public hospitals and health services is available from Queensland Health.
- Private care at a private hospital — this means you can choose your own private doctor or obstetrician to care for you in a private hospital. Private health insurance can help you cover the cost.
- Public birth centre — this option is suitable for healthy low-risk pregnancies. The costs are usually covered by Medicare. There are birth centres at Toowoomba, Townsville and Mackay. You can be transferred to hospital during labour if there are problems, or if you request it.
- Home birth — this is another option for some healthy low-risk pregnancies. You can go to hospital during labour if there are complications or if you request it. Talk to your local hospital to find out what help you can get if you need it. Some costs for eligible midwives are covered by Medicare.
Find information here on the hospitals and health services in your area.
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 Torres Strait Islander people the chance to access safe and culturally appropriate maternity care. That 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 what is available in your area.
What if I need to travel long distances to give birth?
It’s safer for you and your baby to be to be close to a hospital near your estimated due date. So if you need to travel a long distance to give birth, it’s a good idea to plan ahead.
If the hospital is a long distance from your home, you might be able to claim back some of your travel and accommodation expenses. Check if you are eligible for the patient travel subsidy scheme (PTSS) which helps towards some of the costs.
Resources and support
The Queensland Government provides details about the patient travel subsidy scheme. This scheme assists with travel for eligible patients who need to travel for specialist health services not available locally (within 50 kilometres of the patient’s closest public hospital or public health facility).
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.
Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.
Last reviewed: April 2023