If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, you might be wondering what your care is going to cost. In Australia, Medicare can cover some or all of your expenses during your pregnancy and the birth of your baby.
What is Medicare?
Medicare is a health insurance scheme funded by the Australian government. It provides you with access to certain types of medical care and hospital services.
- free treatment and accommodation for public patients in a public hospital
- free or subsidised treatment from health care professionals, including obstetricians, doctors and eligible midwives
- 75% of the Medicare schedule fee if you are a private patient in a public or private hospital — this does not include hospital accommodation, theatre fees or medicines
Who is eligible for Medicare?
If you don’t have a Medicare card, you need to apply for one. Contact Services Australia to find out how to enrol.
What is covered by Medicare during pregnancy, birth and early parenthood?
If you have a Medicare card, your costs during pregnancy and birth will be subsidised by Medicare. Your costs and what Medicare covers will depend on your choice of care and where you give birth.
While you are pregnant, Medicare may help with the costs of:
- midwives and/or obstetricians in the public system
- routine ultrasounds
- pregnancy counselling
- blood tests and routine ultrasound scans
- some immunisations (you need to be vaccinated against whooping cough and influenza when you’re pregnant, and these are provided free under the National Immunisation Program)
Medicare will also pay for 3 pregnancy support counselling sessions. Visit the Department of Health website for more information.
Labour and birth
When you give birth, Medicare covers:
- free care from midwives and/or obstetricians in a public hospital, birth centre, or publicly funded homebirth program
- free or subsidised care from a private obstetrician in a private or public hospital
After the birth of your baby, Medicare covers the costs if your baby needs special care. It also covers some or all of the costs of:
- care from midwives and/or obstetricians in a public hospital, birth centre or publicly funded homebirth program
- immunisations for your baby
- visits to the GP
Your state or territory government may also help to pay some of the costs of services after the birth. Check what’s offered when you have your baby.
Adding your baby to your Medicare card
After your baby is born, it’s important to add them to your card as soon as possible. Your midwife or hospital will give you a form to do this. You can find more on the Services Australia website.
What isn’t covered by Medicare during pregnancy and birth?
There are some things not covered by Medicare. They include:
- hospital stay as a private patient in a private or public hospital
- gap fees for private obstetricians, eligible privately practising midwives or your doctor caring for you during pregnancy or after the birth
- any fees associated with private midwifery care for you during labour and birth at home
- out of pocket private hospital expenses, including medicines
Where can I get more information?
Find out more from Services Australia.
If you’re not an Australian resident, there’s more information on pregnancy care on a visa in Australia.
Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.
Last reviewed: March 2020