- Where you live may affect your choices of where to give birth.
- You can 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 Assistance Transport Scheme.
- Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people may be able to access special programs such as Birthing on Country.
What are my options for maternity services?
You can choose who will care for you during your pregnancy, labour and birth.
In rural or remote South Australia, depending on exactly where you live, you can choose to be cared for by:
- publicly funded midwives, such as those in a midwifery group practice at your local hospital or 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 for most visits. You will usually need a referral from your doctor to access a hospital midwife. Some public hospital midwifery group practices also offer home birth services. For more information see Midwifery group practices in SA offering home birth.
- an independent registered midwife, who might be covered by Medicare. There are not many independent midwives in South Australia, but some might travel to care for you at home.
- your doctor, who may offer 'shared maternity care' with the midwives and doctors at a local hospital
- a private obstetrician at a public or private hospital
It is best for you to have the same health professional throughout your pregnancy, birth and early parenting.
To help choose what is best for you, see Types of care during pregnancy and birth in South Australia.
Where can I give birth?
It's your choice where to birth your baby.
Depending on where you live and if your pregnancy is low or high risk, your options might include one or more of the following:
- Public care in a public hospital — you can receive maternity care from hospital midwives in all public hospitals. Doctors are also available if you or your baby need them. Costs of care in a public hospital are usually covered by Medicare.
- Private care in a public hospital — some public hospitals also provide private care. This means you can choose your own private doctor or obstetrician to care for you. Private health insurance can help you cover some of the costs. If any problems develop during pregnancy, your midwife or doctor may recommend that you see specialist doctors and midwives in public hospitals at:
- Mt Gambier
- Port Lincoln
- Private hospitals also offers maternity services, and some have birthing centre suites. Private health insurance can help you cover the costs. You may need to be transferred to a public hospital if any problems develop during your pregnancy or birth that the private hospital cannot manage.
- A home birth is suitable for healthy low-risk pregnancies. You can go to hospital during labour ifthere are complications or if you request it. Talk to your local hospital or health service to find out what help you can get if you need it. Find information here on Planned home birth in South Australia.
For information on the hospitals and health services in your area, see Regional hospitals and health services.
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 the chance to access safe and culturally appropriate maternity services. 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.
What if I need to travel long distances to give birth?
It is safer for you and your baby to be close to a hospital near your due date. If you need to travel a long distance to give birth, try to plan ahead.
If you need to travel more than 100 km from home, you may be able to claim back some of your travel and accommodation expenses through the Patient Assistance Transport Scheme (PATS).
Resources and support
For more information on the types of care during pregnancy and birth in South Australia contact the Women's and Children's Health Network.
For more information on the Patient Assistance Transport Scheme contact the PATS team on 1300 341 684.
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