Need to talk? Call 1800 882 436.
It's a free call with a maternal child health nurse. *call charges may apply from your mobile

Is it an emergency? Dial 000
If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately.

beginning of content

Pregnancy care on a visa

4-minute read

If you are pregnant while visiting or newly settling in Australia, there are several options for your care, but you should be aware of some of the related costs.

Any pregnant woman is able to access care for herself and her baby in Australia during pregnancy, birth and afterwards.

However, if you are a visitor, student or newly arrived in Australia, the cost of your care will depend on the status of your visa or residency.

In Australia, pregnancy care is provided by midwives, doctors and obstetricians and you may choose to use publicly funded or privately funded care.

Am I covered by Medicare?

Medicare provides access to medical and hospital services for all Australian residents and certain categories of visitors to Australia. Waiting periods and other conditions for Medicare benefits may apply.

The Australian Government has reciprocal healthcare agreements with some countries. These agreements are for essential medical treatment that requires care before you can return home and are not designed to replace travel insurance for health-related expenses.

If you are a resident of one of the following countries, you might be entitled to free or subsidised essential treatment while visiting Australia:

  • United Kingdom
  • the Netherlands
  • Italy
  • Slovenia
  • New Zealand
  • Sweden
  • Belgium
  • Republic of Ireland (except if you are here in Australia on a student visa)
  • Malta (except if you are here in Australia on a student visa)
  • Finland (except if you are here in Australia on a student visa)
  • Norway (except if you are here in Australia on a student visa)

If you have arrived in Australia with a Refugee or Humanitarian Visa, or were granted a Permanent Protection Visa in Australia, you might be entitled to Medicare services.

Overseas Student Health Cover

Overseas students in Australia must have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). If you are on a student visa or a bridging visa, you and your dependents (such as a spouse and children under 18) are required to have this insurance for the duration of your time in Australia.

There are different levels of OSHC insurance policies available and you can also choose which provider best suits your needs.

OSHC covers things like seeing a doctor, some hospital treatments, ambulance and some pharmaceuticals (medicines).

There may be a waiting period for pregnancy-related services, so be sure to check with your insurance provider.

Find out more on OSHC insurance, including a list of providers.

What happens if I am not eligible for Medicare and I fall pregnant?

If you are ineligible for Medicare, you can still get pregnancy care from an obstetrician, midwife or doctor. You can also get labour and birth care in a public or private hospital, birth centre, publicly funded homebirth program, or plan a homebirth with a privately practising registered midwife.

But to cover the costs associated with your care, you’ll need to have taken out private health insurance before becoming pregnant or you’ll have to pay the full costs associated with your care.

Will my baby be an Australian citizen?

Children born in Australia are automatically Australian citizens if at least one parent is an Australian citizen or a permanent resident at the time of the child's birth.

If neither parent is an Australian citizen or a permanent resident of Australia at the time of birth, the child is called a temporary resident. The child will hold the same visa subclass as the parent’s temporary resident visa.

Language support

If you have a Refugee or Humanitarian Visa, or were granted a Permanent Protection Visa in Australia, the Australian government provides free interpreters and a free translation service to help you talk to Services Australia.

There is also a multilingual phone service to speak to someone in your language about Centrelink payments and services.

Where can I get more information?

Additional information is also available on:

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: March 2020


Back To Top

Need more information?

Newborn healthcare on a visa

If you are a parent or parents on an Australian visa, the following information will help you understand your newborn baby’s healthcare entitlements.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Medicare during pregnancy

Medicare is a health insurance scheme funded by the Australian government. Find out what is covered by Medicare during pregnancy.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Maternity services in remote Northern Territory

Find out what maternity services are available in remote Northern Territory

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Maternity services in rural NSW

Find out what maternity services are available in rural or remote NSW

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Maternity services in rural Victoria

Find out what maternity services are available in rural and remote Victoria.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Private health insurance and pregnancy

If you are planning to have a child and want private health insurance, there are things to consider such as waiting periods and what is covered.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Public vs private care during pregnancy

When having a baby, you may make a decision between public vs private care during pregnancy. Find out more about the differences including care providers, place of birth and cost.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Help for perinatal patients under Medicare

COPE's purpose is to prevent and improve the quality of life of those living with emotional and mental health problems that occur prior to and within the perinatal period.

Read more on COPE - Centre of Perinatal Excellence website

Dad's guide to fatherhood

Find some practical advice of how to help your partner through the pregnancy and for when you bring your baby home.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Pregnancy help when overseas

It’s possible to travel safely overseas while pregnant. But if something does go wrong, there are usually ways to get help. Find out here how to be properly prepared.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Call us and speak to a Maternal Child Health Nurse for personal advice and guidance.

Need further advice or guidance from our maternal child health nurses?

This information is for your general information and use only and is not intended to be used as medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes.

The information is not a substitute for independent professional advice and should not be used as an alternative to professional health care. If you have a particular medical problem, please consult a healthcare professional.

Except as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, this publication or any part of it may not be reproduced, altered, adapted, stored and/or distributed in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of Healthdirect Australia.