Getting medical care during pregnancy
Explore your medical care options for your pregnancy, including choosing a doctor or midwife, screening tests, antenatal care and what’s covered by Medicare.
Choosing your health care team
Your pregnancy and birth care options will depend on:
- where you live and the services available in your area
- your medical history and risk factors
- where you decide to give birth
- if you’re a public or private patient
- your cultural or personal beliefs.
You will usually have a choice of GP, midwife, obstetrician, or combination of these. When making your decision, it can help to talk to your:
- partner about what is important to you both
- friends and family about their own experiences
- family doctor or GP about your options
- local hospital about their services.
Consider booking in with your midwife or obstetrician by the time you're 12 to 14 weeks pregnant.
Find out more about the health professionals involved when having a baby at Pregnancy, Birth and Baby.
Screening tests and antenatal care
Screening tests will show if your baby is at risk of a health condition.
If a screening test shows a higher than normal risk, you'll be offered diagnostic testing to properly diagnose the condition. Diagnostic testing can be invasive and carries a small risk of complications.
It’s your decision whether you take any screening or diagnostic tests.
Antenatal care is the check-ups and tests you'll need during your pregnancy. It's important to attend antenatal appointments even if you’re feeling well, so that:
- your medical care team can monitor the health of you and your baby
- potential risks can be identified, prevented or reduced
- you can ask any questions you have about your pregnancy or the birth.
The NSW Health Aboriginal Maternal Infant Health Service provides culturally safe antenatal and postnatal care by a midwife and Aboriginal health worker. You can access this service while you're pregnant and after your baby is born.
Learn more about the antenatal check-ups and tests you can expect during pregnancy at Pregnancy, Birth and Baby
What Medicare covers
Medicare can cover all or part of the health care costs of having a baby, including:
- your doctor or GP fees
- ultrasounds and blood tests
- midwife and obstetric fees
- public hospital or birth centre fees.
Find out what’s covered by Medicare at Services Australia.
Choosing a public or private hospital
If you choose to give birth as a public patient, Medicare will cover the cost of:
- your public hospital or birth centre stay
- midwife and obstetric fees
- some medical expenses like ultrasounds.
If you have private health insurance, you can choose:
- a private hospital
- a private room in a public hospital
- your obstetrician, in most cases.
If your policy does not already cover pregnancy, you may have to serve waiting periods. Check with your private health insurer before, or as soon as you know, you're pregnant.
If you decide to give birth as a private patient, there are usually out of pocket expenses that insurance won’t cover. Talk to your private health insurer to find out how much your policy will cover.
Learn more about your public and private care options at Pregnancy, Birth and Baby.
Health complications during pregnancy
Some women develop complications during pregnancy. It’s important to be aware of the symptoms that may indicate a more serious condition. Complications can include:
- severe vomiting and nausea
- severe itching
- gestational diabetes.
Talk to your doctor or midwife immediately if you’re having any health problems during pregnancy that concern you.
Learn more about complications during pregnancy at Pregnancy, Birth and Baby.