Planning to have a baby
Before trying for a baby, talk to your doctor about:
- any existing health issues you and your partner have
- you and your partner's family and genetic history
- healthy eating and changes to your or your partner's lifestyle
- any vaccinations you need - rubella and chickenpox vaccinations should be given at least 28 days before becoming pregnant
Adopt a healthier lifestyle
You can find information and support to adopt a healthier lifestyle at:
- NSW Health - resources to help you plan a healthy pregnancy
- NSW Get Healthy Service - call 1300 806 258 for free telephone health coaching to help you adopt a healthier lifestyle
- iCanQuit - online resource for smokers and ex-smokers who want to quit smoking permanently, or call the Quitline on 13 78 48
- Your Room - treatment and support services for alcohol and other drugs
Plan your finances
Having a baby will mean extra costs and changes to your income and lifestyle.
Budgeting in advance can help you be better prepared when the time comes for:
- medical costs like doctor and hospital bills
- baby care costs like prams, car seats and child care
- living on a reduced income, if taking time off from your job
What Medicare covers
Medicare can cover all or part of the health care costs of having a baby, including:
- your GP fees
- ultrasounds and blood tests
- midwife and obstetric fees
- public hospital or birth centre fees
- fertility treatments
Choosing a public or private hospital
If your policy doesn’t already cover pregnancy, you may have to serve waiting periods. Check with your private health insurer before, or as soon as you know, you are pregnant.
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 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 you'll need to pay.
Get financial help
There are a number of different income support payments available to help with the cost of having and raising a baby.
If you're eligible, you can make a claim for some of these payments up to 3 months before your baby’s due date.
If you're trying to get pregnant
Your ability to get pregnant can be affected by your or your partner's:
- lifestyle factors like alcohol, smoking, diet and weight
- medical history
- family and genetic history
Not everyone will get pregnant as soon as they start trying. You may want to see your doctor if:
- you’ve been trying for 12 months or more
- you’re over 35 and have been trying for 6 months or more
If you're using IVF treatment
If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, your doctor may suggest using assisted reproductive treatment (ART). The most common type is IVF.
The NSW Government is improving affordable access to IVF services across NSW by:
- offering a $500 rebate for out-of-pocket expenses related to pre-IVF fertility testing
- expanding the availability of lower cost IVF treatment at selected IVF clinics
- establishing a state-wide fertility preservation service for cancer patients at The Royal Hospital for Women
When you are pregnant
Learn more from NSW Health about having a baby and what to expect in pregnancy with:
Aboriginal maternal and infant health services provides care by a midwife and Aboriginal health worker while you are pregnant and once your baby has been born.
Expectant dads will also experience a lot of emotions and changes. You can get information on pregnancy and fatherhood at the Raising Children Network.
Read more about what to expect if you’re pregnant with more than one baby at Pregnancy, Birth and Baby.
There may be specific groups for young parents, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) families and for the LGBTIQA+ community.
Ask what groups are available at the antenatal clinic or maternity unit of your local hospital, your local health district or your doctor.
You can also get access to more resources and support services in Section 8: Get Support.
Looking after your health
What you put into your body before, during and after your pregnancy can affect your baby’s health and development.
Eating a healthy diet
Eating a healthy diet during your pregnancy will help your baby get all the nutrients they need for their healthy development.
Find out how the NSW Get Healthy in Pregnancy service can help you eat healthy, be physically active and stop smoking and drinking alcohol during your pregnancy.
Being underweight, overweight or gaining weight too quickly during pregnancy can increase the risk of health problems for you and your baby.
The pregnancy weight gain calculator can help you work out what your healthy weight gain range is during pregnancy.
Foods to avoid
There are some foods you should avoid eating when pregnant, as they can make you ill and potentially harm your baby, including:
- soft and semi-soft cheeses
- raw shellfish and seafood
- raw or undercooked eggs
- raw or undercooked meat
- pre-prepared salads
- unwashed fruit and vegetables
It’s also important to be careful with food preparation and food storage when pregnant, to lower the risk of food poisoning.
Important vitamins during pregnancy
There are some nutrients that you need more of during pregnancy. In addition to the importance of a healthy diet, your doctor may recommend taking:
- folate to help protect against neural tube defects, such as spina bifida
- iodine for the healthy development of the baby’s brain and nervous system
- iron to prevent you getting anaemia (low red blood cells)
Keeping you and your family's vaccinations up to date can help protect you and your unborn baby against illnesses that are easily spread, including:
- the flu
- whooping cough
Talk to your doctor about which vaccinations are safe to get during pregnancy.
Taking medications during your pregnancy
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about:
- any medications you were taking when you fell pregnant
- if it’s safe to stop taking medications you normally take
- any medications you plan to take while pregnant
For some, pregnancy can lead to dental problems like gum disease and a higher chance of tooth decay.
Poor dental health may affect the health of your baby and can increase the risk of premature birth.
Having good oral hygiene reduces the chance of dental problems during pregnancy. This includes:
- brushing your teeth twice a day
- flossing daily
- having a regular dental check-up
It’s important to tell your dentist if you’re pregnant, as it can affect the dental procedures you can have done during this time.
Public dental services offer general and emergency dental services free of charge to NSW residents with a Medicare card who are:
- under 18, or
- over 18 and hold either a health care card, pensioner concession card or Commonwealth seniors health card
Reducing the risk of stillbirth
Contact your doctor or midwife immediately if you think your baby’s movements have decreased in strength or number
There are several things you can do to reduce the risk of stillbirth, including:
- eating a healthy diet
- avoiding smoking, drinking alcohol and taking drugs
- going to all your antenatal appointments
- monitoring any changes to your baby’s movements
- sleeping on your side from 28 weeks of pregnancy
Along with the physical changes at each stage of pregnancy, there are also common emotional changes.
It is normal to experience some anxiety and for your emotions to go up and down when expecting a baby.
For some people, these feelings can start to affect their daily life. This is known as antenatal anxiety or antenatal depression.
You can get information and support at:
Working when you’re pregnant
You don’t have to legally tell your work you’re pregnant by a certain time, but think about letting them know if you:
- have morning sickness and are unwell
- need adjustments at work to continue doing your job
- need time off for medical appointments
Your rights at work
It is against the law for workplaces to discriminate against you if you’re pregnant, which means they can’t:
- reduce your hours
- fire you
- overlook you for a promotion
- ask if you’re pregnant or planning on getting pregnant during a job interview
Your safety at work
Your workplace is responsible for protecting you from any risks at work while pregnant, including:
- heavy lifting
- working with chemicals
- excessive travel
A risk assessment may need to be done at different stages of your pregnancy, or if your work duties change.
If it’s not safe for you to do your normal job while pregnant, your workplace has to offer you a safe job at the same pay rate and number of working hours as your normal job.
If there’s no safe job available, you may be able to take no safe job leave.
Types of leave
You’re entitled to your normal leave entitlements during pregnancy. You may also be able to get other types of leave before and after your baby is born.
No safe job leave
You may be able to take no safe job leave if:
- it’s not safe for you to do your normal job while pregnant, and
- there’s no alternative safe job available at your workplace
You can take paid no safe job leave if you’re entitled to unpaid parental leave.
If you won't get paid leave, you can choose to take unpaid no safe job leave.
Special maternity leave
Special maternity leave can be used if you’re eligible for unpaid parental leave and you have a pregnancy related illness.
You may need to show a medical certificate as proof.
The unpaid leave ends when either the illness or pregnancy ends, whichever comes first.
Taking special maternity leave doesn’t affect your unpaid parental leave.
Unpaid parental leave
If you’ve worked at your job for at least 12 months before the birth or expected date of birth, you may be able to take unpaid parental leave. You will need to:
- let your work know in writing at least 10 weeks before your last day
- specify your expected leave and return dates
Your leave can start up to 6 weeks before your expected due date, or earlier if your work agrees.
If you take leave once your baby is born, you may be able to get Parental Leave Pay from the government. Learn more about this and other types of income payment support in Section 7: Help with costs.
Getting medical care
Prenatal screening tests will show if your baby is at risk of a health condition.
If a screening test shows your baby is at a higher than normal risk, you will be offered further testing to properly diagnose the condition.
It’s your decision whether you take any prenatal screening tests or not.
Antenatal care is the check ups and tests you need during your pregnancy. It is important to attend antenatal appointments even if you’re feeling well so that:
- your health 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.
Health professionals involved in your pregnancy
Consider booking in with your midwife or obstetrician by the time you're 12 to 14 weeks pregnant
You may see a lot of different health care professionals during your pregnancy.
You will have a choice of GP, midwife, obstetrician, or combination of these. It will depend on:
- where you decide to give birth
- if you're having a caesarean
- if you've had any complications during your pregnancy
Pregnancy support counselling
Pregnancy support counselling is available if you want to talk about any concerns you have about your pregnancy.
This can be provided by eligible GPs and other health professionals on referral from a GP.
If you’re currently pregnant or have been pregnant in the last 12 months, you can claim Medicare rebates for up to 3 counselling services.
Making a birth plan
A birth plan is a written list of what you’d like to happen when you give birth. It’s a way to let your midwife or doctor know ahead of time what kind of care you’d like.
When making your birth plan, think about:
- where you want to have your baby
- who you want with you during labour
- if you want pain relief
- what birthing position you want to try
- if you have any cultural or religious needs around giving birth
Antenatal classes fill up quickly. Book in around 20 weeks and aim to finish the course by 36 weeks or earlier if you're expecting more than one baby.
Antenatal classes help you and your partner know what to expect during labour and after your baby is born, including:
- the signs of labour and when to go to hospital
- different birthing positions
- breathing skills to use during labour
- newborn baby behaviour
It’s also a chance to meet other expectant parents and share your experiences.
Hospitals, birth centres and some community centres offer antenatal classes. There are also online antenatal classes for those unable to go to face to face classes.
Ask your midwife or doctor about finding an antenatal class.
The cost of antenatal classes
The cost of antenatal classes will depend on where you live and who is running the class. Some classes are free.
If you have private health insurance, you may be able to get a rebate on antenatal classes.
Getting prepared at home
When preparing for your baby, there are things you can do to make your home safe, including:
- ensuring any new baby items such as cots and prams meet Australian standards
- correctly using new items and being aware of their potential hazards
- putting child locks or safety gates on doors and cupboards
- being aware of bath and pool safety
Buy and install a child safety seat in your car
By law, any child under 7 years who travels in a car must use a correctly fitted and properly fastened child restraint that meets Australian and New Zealand safety standards.
Babies under 6 months must use a rearward-facing child restraint with an inbuilt harness.
Before the birth
Before you go into labour, it can be helpful to:
- think about how you'll feed your baby
- decide how you’ll get to the hospital or birth centre
- make child care arrangements if you have other children
- install a child safety seat ahead of time if you plan to drive home from the hospital
- pack a bag for the hospital with things you'll need for yourself and the baby
If you’re pregnant and experiencing family or domestic violence
Call Emergency Triple Zero on 000 if you or your children are in immediate danger
Family or domestic violence can start or increase during pregnancy, including:
- verbal abuse
- physical abuse
- sexual abuse
- financial abuse
- controlling behaviour
1800RESPECT offers confidential telephone and online information, counselling and support services. Visit 1800RESPECT or call on 1800 737 732. They have also created the Daisy app to connect people experiencing violence or abuse to services in their local area.
Find out more about the emergency accommodation options available if you need to leave your home.
Get access to more resources and support services in Section 8: Get Support.
If you didn’t plan to get pregnant
Not everybody plans to get pregnant.
If you’re pregnant and not sure what to do, it’s important to know your options and where to get help.
You can call the NSW Pregnancy Options Helpline on 1800 131 231 and speak to a health professional. They offer free, unbiased and confidential information on your pregnancy options. The helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Pain relief during labour
Everyone handles pain differently. Until you’re in labour, you won’t know how you’ll cope or what will work best.
Your ability to cope with pain will be affected by:
- feelings of anxiety
- how long your labour lasts
- if your labour is during the day or at night
There are natural ways to help cope with pain, such as:
- relaxation and breathing awareness
- staying active
- changing positions
- heat and water
- making groaning noises
You may need medical pain relief. Talk to your doctor or midwife about your options, including:
- nitrous oxide (gas)
When labour doesn't go to plan
Not all births go as planned. Complications during labour can include:
- slow progress of labour
- premature labour
- if the baby’s in an unusual position
- concern about the baby’s condition
If your baby is premature
Premature babies may not be fully developed and can need help with breathing, feeding and keeping warm.
If your baby is likely to be delivered early, you may be admitted or transferred to a hospital that has special facilities for premature babies known as a neonatal unit.
Common reasons that babies are born prematurely include when you:
- are having more than one baby
- have a medical condition such as pre-eclampsia or diabetes
- have a history of premature birth
If your baby is overdue
Pregnancy usually lasts 40 weeks. Most women will go into labour within a week before or after this date.
If your labour doesn't start naturally, your midwife or doctor may suggest inducing labour.
If you don’t want your pregnancy induced and you go beyond 42 weeks, you and your baby will need to be closely monitored.
You can learn more about pregnancy beyond 41 weeks at NSW Health.
If your baby was stillborn or has died
If you had a miscarriage before 20 weeks of pregnancy, you can apply for a recognition of early pregnancy loss certificate at Service NSW
You will need to register the birth of a baby if the loss was after 20 weeks of pregnancy or weighing more than 400 grams at birth.
The death of a baby is a difficult time for parents and those close to them. There are organisations that offer support to families affected by miscarriage, stillbirth or the loss of a newborn:
After your baby is born
Becoming a parent and learning how to care for a newborn baby can be a big adjustment.
It is normal to have a lot of questions and not know what to expect.
You can find information on caring for a newborn baby at the Raising Children Network.
Parents with a physical or mental disability, or a learning difficulty can find out about the support services available at Pregnancy, Birth and Baby.
Safe sleeping practices
Sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI) is a term used to describe when a baby dies unexpectedly and for no obvious reason.
There are safe sleeping practices that can reduce the risk of SUDI, including:
- placing your baby on their back to sleep
- avoiding the use of soft toys, pillows and cot bumpers
- using a mattress that fits well in the cot so there are no gaps
- not using too many blankets to avoid overheating
Feeding your baby
When feeding your baby, you have the choice of:
- bottle feeding
- a combination of both
Breastfeeding has many benefits, as it:
- promotes bonding between you and your baby
- has all the nutrients your baby needs for their growth and development
- is easy for your baby to digest
- helps protect your baby from infections and disease
Common issues you may experience when trying to breastfeed include:
- breast refusal or biting
- sore nipples
- blocked milk ducts and mastitis
- over or under supply of milk
You can find information and support on breastfeeding at:
If breastfeeding doesn’t work out
Not everyone is able to breastfeed. Deciding not to breastfeed can be a difficult decision.
You can get support from health professionals, mother’s groups and counsellors.
You can bottle feed with:
- expressed breastmilk, or
- baby infant formula
Baby infant formula is the only safe alternative to breastmilk. Commercial formulas have all the nutrients your baby needs for healthy growth and development.
When using baby bottles, it’s important to know how to:
- clean and sterilise bottle feeding equipment
- safely prepare, store and warm bottles
Giving birth and looking after a baby can be a tiring and emotional time. Your hormones are changing, and it's common to feel irritable and anxious after giving birth. This is commonly known as the baby blues.
If the baby blues lasts longer than 2 weeks, it can be a sign of postpartum depression, which can develop any time during the first year after having a baby.
Postpartum depression can affect either parent. Signs include:
- feeling inadequate as a parent
- feeling sad and exhausted
- feeling anxious
- feeling guilty or ashamed
- trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- not wanting to be alone or go out
It’s important to get a diagnosis and proper treatment if you think you have postpartum depression. You can talk to your doctor, midwife, local mental health service or community health service.
Postpartum depression can be treated in different ways, including:
- group treatment
- support strategies
New parents with postpartum depression can also get help and support at:
Health checks and vaccinations
All parents who live in NSW will get the baby bundle. This is a bag filled with baby products and information to support the health, development and wellbeing of your baby.
You’ll receive the baby bundle when you’re discharged from hospital. If your baby was not born in a hospital, you can request a baby bundle when you register their birth.
Child health record book
You’ll be issued with a child health record book at birth, known in NSW as the blue book. This is your baby’s main health record until they start school.
In the first year, your baby’s health and development is usually checked at:
- 1 to 4 weeks
- 6 to 8 weeks
- 6 months
- 12 months
During these check ups your doctor or child health nurse will:
- check your baby’s hearing and vision
- check your baby’s heart
- check your baby’s growth and development
- give or advise you to get any vaccinations that are due
- discuss any concerns you have about your child’s health, development and general wellbeing
You can also monitor your child’s health and development using the Learn the Signs. Act Early milestone monitoring tool.
Child and family health centres
Child and family health centres provide a free service for all new parents in NSW.
Child and family health nurses offer:
- health, development and wellbeing checks for your child
- home visits as part of the Universal Health Home Visiting program
- support, education and information on all aspects of parenting
Building Strong Foundations (BSF)
Building Strong Foundations (BSF) for Aboriginal children, families and communities services provide a free, culturally safe child and family health service for Aboriginal children.
The BSF service works with families, parents, carers, and the local community to support the health, growth and development of Aboriginal children from birth to school entry age.
The service is provided by teams of Aboriginal health workers and child and family health nurses.
Your baby’s vaccinations will need to be kept up to date to protect your baby from diseases.
They'll also need to be up to date in order to get certain payments, including:
- the Family Tax Benefit Part A payment
- the Child Care Subsidy
Paperwork and applications
You'll need to register your baby's birth within 60 days of your baby being born.
If you had your baby in hospital, they'll give you a form, or you can apply online.
It’s free to register the birth of your baby. If you want a birth certificate, you can get one for a cost.
Your baby’s birth must be registered if you want to get:
- Parental Leave Pay
- Dad and Partner Pay, or
- the Newborn Supplement
Finalising a pre-birth claim or making a family payment claim
You’ll need to provide proof of your baby’s birth to finalise any claims made before the birth of your baby or to make a new family payment claim.
You can do this by filling out the newborn child declaration that's included in the parent pack you get from your hospital or midwife.
Completing the newborn child declaration form will also:
- enrol your baby in Medicare and the Medicare Safety Net
- register your baby for a My Health Record
- enrol your baby into the Australian Immunisation Register
Enrolling your baby in Medicare
If you’ve completed a pre-claim form, your baby will be enrolled in Medicare as part of that process.
If you’re not claiming a family payment and haven’t finalised a pre-birth claim, you'll need to provide proof of birth to enrol your baby in Medicare.
You can do this by completing the newborn child declaration form you received in the parent pack from the hospital or midwife. This will also:
- enrol your baby in the Medicare Safety Net
- register your baby for a My Health Record
- enrol your baby into the Australian Immunisation Register
If you're a visa holder or visa applicant
You'll need to let the Department of Home Affairs know if you've had a baby and are a visa holder or visa applicant.
They'll confirm whether your baby needs a visa of if they're an Australian citizen.
Making a will
It’s common to think about the future when you have a baby. This can include:
- making or updating your will
- electing a legal guardian for your children if anything should happen to you
Mothers’ groups, dads’ groups and playgroups
Mothers’ groups, dads’ groups and playgroups are a useful way to build a support network of people who are going through a similar experience.
This can be face to face or online through groups and forums.
Child and family health centres can also provide access to parenting groups. Find a child and family health centre near you.
You’re usually assigned a mothers’ group by your hospital, antenatal class or maternal and child health clinic.
If you’re not assigned a group, you can find out about local support groups through the Australian Breastfeeding Association.
It’s important that new dads get support and the chance to meet other new dads too.
You can find information on dads’ groups at your hospital, maternal and child health clinic, community centre or online.
The not-for-profit organisation Dads Group host over 70 dads’ groups Australia-wide. If there isn’t already a group in your local area, they can help you start one.
Playgroups give parents the chance to bring children together to connect, learn through play and build social skills.
Find a playgroup in your local area at Playgroup NSW
Getting around with a baby
Children aged 3 years and under can travel on public transport for free.
If you’re travelling with your baby in a car, you must by law use a correctly fitted and properly fastened child restraint that meets Australian and New Zealand safety standards.
Babies under 6 months need to use a rearward facing child restraint with an inbuilt harness.
If your baby has special needs
Some babies born with special needs will need additional care.
It can help to talk to your doctor or midwife about your baby’s condition and your options. They can also put you in touch with a support group in your local area.
You can find more parenting resources and support services in Section 8: Get Support.
Finding child care
Think about enrolling your child in child care by age 2, as many child care services have waiting lists
Choosing an early childhood education and care service is one of the most important decisions you will make for your child.
It can help your child:
- learn social skills and make friends
- improve their emotional and cognitive development
- prepare them for school
Types of child care services include:
- long day care or early learning centres – for children aged between 6 weeks to 6 years old
- occasional care – for children up to school age for short periods of time
- family day care – based in a carer’s home with a limited number of children
The type of service you choose will depend on availability of child care, your budget and how many days you want to enrol your child.
Children can only be enrolled in child care if they:
- are up to date with their vaccinations
- have a medical reason not to be up to date, or
- are on a catch-up schedule
Going back to work
If you’ve taken time off to care for your baby, going back to work can be an adjustment for the whole family.
The Raising Children Network has information and ideas on how to prepare your family for your return to work.
If you’re getting Parental Leave Pay
You'll need to notify Services Australia if you’re getting Parental Leave Pay and go back to work before the end of your paid parental leave period.
You’re considered to have returned to work if you do either paid work or more than 10 keeping in touch days.
A keeping in touch day is a day or part day you go into work while on parental leave to stay connected to your workplace or help you transition back to work, including attending:
- planning days
- training sessions
If you return to work early, you can transfer the unused part of your parental leave pay to another person.
Understanding your rights
It’s against the law for your workplace to treat you less favourably because of your family responsibilities.
If you’ve been on unpaid parental leave, you have a right to return to the job you had before going on leave, even if someone is working in that job as a replacement.
If you reduced your hours or transferred to a safe job before going on parental leave, you have the right to return to the job you had before the reduction of hours or transfer.
If you’re on a fixed term contract, your work doesn’t have to extend the fixed term because you’ve taken leave. If your fixed term ends while you’re on parental leave, you may not be able to return to that job.
If your job no longer exists
If your job has changed or no longer exists, your work needs to offer you a job that you’re qualified for that’s similar to your old job in pay and status.
If this isn’t possible, you may be entitled to a redundancy.
Flexible work arrangements
You have the right to request a flexible work arrangement when returning from parental leave. This can include:
- working part time
- working from home
- changing start and finish times
A request for flexible work arrangements need to be made in writing.
Breastfeeding at work
You have a legal right to breastfeed or express and store breast milk at work.
It may be discrimination if your work doesn’t provide suitable facilities for you to do this.
Help with costs
There's help available to those eligible to help with the cost of raising a child, including:
- one-off and regular income support payments
- help to pay the rent
- lower health care and medicine
- help with child care fees
Income support payments
There are several income support payments available to help with the cost of having and raising a baby, including:
- Newborn Upfront Payment – a tax-free lump sum payment per child
- Newborn Supplement – up to 13 weeks per child
- Parental Leave Pay – up to 18 weeks while you take time off work to care for your newborn child
- Dad and Partner Pay – up to 2 weeks to care for a newborn baby
- Family Tax Benefit – a 2-part payment that helps with the cost of raising children
- Parenting Payment – an ongoing payment for the main carers of young children
You may be able to get Rent Assistance if you receive certain income support payments. The amount will depend on how much rent you pay.
You don’t need to submit a claim, you’ll automatically be assessed when you claim an eligible payment.
Health care costs
If you or your family need to see a doctor or have tests regularly, you can end up paying a lot in medical expenses. There are several options for lowering those costs.
Medicare Safety Nets
Medicare Safety Nets is a threshold amount for out of pocket medical expenses. Once the threshold is reached, you get higher Medicare benefits back for the cost of certain services.
You can register as a family for Medicare Safety Nets to combine your costs, which means you’re more likely to reach the threshold sooner.
If you’re already registered, you’ll need to update your details to include your baby.
You’ll already be registered if you filled out a newborn child declaration form after giving birth.
Health care card
You may be able to get a health care card if you get certain income support payments.
A health care card lets you get cheaper health services and medicines.
Child care costs
You may be able to get financial help with the cost of approved child care, including the child care subsidy and the additional child care subsidy.
If you’re eligible, your child will need to meet immunisation requirements.
If you need an interpreter to help you access any of these services, call 131 450 for a free translating and interpreting service anytime
There are many resources and support services available to help expectant and new parents cope with the practical and emotional challenges of having and raising a baby.
You can find advice, information and support about pregnancy and caring for a baby at:
- Pregnancy, Birth and Baby helpline or call 1800 882 436 to speak to a maternal child health nurse
- Parent Line NSW or call 1300 1300 52 for confidential advice and support
- your local NSW child and family health centre for health checks, information and support, and help finding a parenting group
- Raising Children Network for information and resources on pregnancy, newborns and raising children. They also have information and resources for rainbow and same-sex families and single parents
- Australian Breastfeeding Association for support and information to establish and continue breastfeeding
- Tresillian or call 1300 272 736 for advice and support in the early years of a child's life
- Miracle Babies Foundation offers support to families with premature and sick newborns
- Pregnancy, Birth and Baby for parents with disability looking for information on support services
- Relationships Australia NSW offers group support for parents helping their children cope with change after a family separation
- Department of Communities and Justice for parents who are raising a child with disability - information on early intervention, dealing with a diagnosis of disability and where to find support
You can find information and support for the emotional challenges of having and raising a child at:
- Lifeline or call 13 11 14
- PANDA or call 1300 726 306 if you have postpartum depression or are experiencing anxiety and depression during pregnancy
- COPE for emotional support before and after having a baby
- Mensline Australia or call 1300 78 99 78
- Brave Foundation for teen parents
- Relationships Australia NSW
- Rainbow Families for LGBTIQA+ families
- Stepfamilies Australia
- DoCS Child At Risk Helpline NSW
Health and wellbeing support
Support if you’ve lost a baby
You can find information, advice and support for families affected by miscarriage, stillbirth or the loss of a child at:
- Red Nose or call 1300 308 307 for grief and loss support for families affected by the death of a child
- Sands offers support for parents who’ve experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth or death of a newborn
- The Pink Elephants Miscarriage Support Network offers information and support to parents who’ve experienced a miscarriage
- Stillbirth Foundation Australia offers information and support for families who've experienced a stillbirth
Support if you’re experiencing family or domestic violence
You can find information, counselling, referrals and support services if you're experiencing family or domestic violence at:
- Domestic Violence helpline on 1800 656 463 for counselling, advice and referrals to support services and shelters
- 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 for confidential information, counselling and support services. They have also created the Daisy app to connect people experiencing violence or abuse to services in their local area
- Victims Services provides a Victims Access Line on 1800 633 063 for support services, including counselling and financial support packages. They also have a dedicated Aboriginal Contact Line on 1800 019 123
- Women’s Legal Service NSW on 1800 801 501 offers free specialist legal services to women in NSW, including those related to domestic violence, family law and child protection
- Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program on 1800 938 227 provides information, advocacy and referrals to support women going through the court process
- Relationships Australia NSW on 1300 364 277 for family and domestic violence support services
- No to Violence on 1300 766 491 offers information and counselling to help men who use family violence
- Find out at NSW Government about the emergency accommodation options available if you need to leave your home
You can find legal information, advocacy services and referrals at:
- LawAccess NSW on 1300 888 529 for a free telephone service that provides legal information, referrals and advice for people in NSW, including employment rights, registering the birth of a child and IVF-related issues
- Women’s Legal Service NSW on 1800 801 501 offers free specialist legal services to women in NSW
- Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program on 1800 938 227 provides information, advocacy and referrals to support women going through the court process