- Depending on where you live, you may have options for the types of health professional or team that will care for you during your pregnancy, labour and birth.
- If you travel a long distance from home, you might be able to claim some travel and accommodation costs through the Patient Assisted Travel Scheme (PATS).
- 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.
What are my options for maternity services?
You can choose who will care for you throughout your pregnancy, labour and birth.
If you are pregnant and live in rural or remote Western Australia, your options may include one or more of the following:
- Publicly funded midwives, such as those who work in midwifery group practices or the Community Midwifery Program, means that the same midwife or team of midwives will care for you throughout your pregnancy, labour, and birth. Some public hospital midwifery group practices also offer home birth services.
- Private practice midwives can be used for low risk home births but are not linked to hospitals or the Community Midwifery Program. Some of these fees may be covered by Medicare.
- Your GP may be able to share your pregnancy care with doctors and midwives at a local hospital.
- Obstetricians (a specialist doctor) can care for you at a public or private hospital.
It is best for you and your baby to have the same health professional throughout your pregnancy, birth and early parenting.
To help you choose the type of care that is best for you, see your maternity care options.
Where can I give birth?
It’s your choice where to give birth.
Depending on the area you live in and whether your pregnancy is considered low or high risk, your options may include one or more of the following:
- Public care provided in a public hospital. Maternity services are provided by some public hospitals in Western Australia. Costs are usually 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. This means you can choose your own private obstetrician or doctor to care for you. Private health insurance can help you cover some of the costs.
- A birthing centre is suitable for healthy low risk pregnancies. The costs are covered by Medicare. You can go to hospital during labour if complications arise or if you request it. For more information, talk to your doctor or a midwife.
- A private doctor in a private hospital. Some private hospitals offer maternity services. Private health insurance can help you cover some of the cost. You may need to be transferred to a public hospital during labour if complications arise.
- A home birth This is a suitable option for women with healthy low risk pregnancies. You can go to hospital during labour if you would like, or if there are problems. Some costs for eligible midwives are covered by Medicare.
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 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 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 Assisted Travel Scheme (PATS).
Resources and support
Healthy WA offers information on:
- your maternity care options
- having a baby in a public country hospital in WA
- having a baby in private care
For more general information and support, please call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby on 1800 882 436 at any time during your pregnancy.
Pregnancy, Birth and Baby’s video call service allows you to speak face-to-face with a maternal child health nurse. Video call is a free service and is available from 7am to midnight (AET), 7 days a week (including public holidays).
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Last reviewed: April 2023