If you are pregnant and live in rural Tasmania, 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 Tasmania, 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 any of the following choices:
- Midwifery group practices and the Know Your Midwife scheme allow the same midwife or team of midwives to care for you throughout your pregnancy. The midwife might be based at the hospital or might join you there for your labour and birth. They may continue caring for you at home after the birth.
- Midwife satellite clinics provide antenatal care only in local communities.
- Your doctor might offer ‘shared maternity care’ along with the midwives and doctors at a local hospital. For further information, please speak to your doctor.
- Privately practising registered midwives, who might be covered by Medicare.
- A private obstetrician may work either at a public or at a private hospital, or at both.
To check the availability of different types of pregnancy care in your area, visit the Department of Health website.
Where can I give birth?
Weigh up the decision about where to give birth with your partner, family and doctor or other health professional. These are the 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.
Public hospitals that offer maternity care are:
- Royal Hobart Hospital (also open to private patients)
- Launceston General Hospital (also open to private patients)
- North West Regional Hospital, Burnie (antenatal care only, all births at the nearby private hospital)
- North East Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital, Scottsdale (also open to private patients)
Birthing services are no longer available at Mersey Hospital, although pregnancy care is still available.
- North West Private Hospital, Burnie (also offers public patient care)
- Hobart Private Hospital, Hobart
- Calvary Lenah Valley Hospital, Hobart (also offers public care)
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. The Royal Hobart Hospital has a public birth centre.
A home birth may be suitable for women with healthy low-risk pregnancies. You can be transferred to hospital during labour if you would like, or if there are problems. 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 ambulance services are available, and make a back-up booking during pregnancy at the nearest large hospital.
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.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who want to be seen by Indigenous midwives can contact:
- the Aboriginal Health Service through the Royal Hobart Hospital’s Women’s Health Clinic – call (03) 6166 0000 and ask to speak to the senior midwife
- Ravenswood Child and Family Centre – call (03) 6777 2703
- the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre in Launceston – call 1800 132 260
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 Patient Travel Assistance Scheme (PTAS).
For general information about having a baby, see:
- Royal Hobart Hospital’s Maternity Information Package: your guide to Pregnancy, Birth and Early Parenting
- Tasmanian Department of Health – Pregnancy care in your area
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