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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


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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.

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