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Giving birth is one of the most incredible and likely difficult things you will ever do. You want to make sure you are comfortable, calm and content in your environment. In Mackay and surrounds, mothers have a number of choices when it comes to where to give birth.

Public Hospital

73 per cent of mothers who gave birth in an Australian hospital in 2014 opted for a public hospital. The public system has everything you need to ensure a positive delivery experience, including highly qualified midwives, doctors, specialists and anaesthesiologists, if required. Public hospitals also feature individual labour wards with toilet and shower facilities, a private bathtub if you choose a water birth and additional facilities to help with your labour experience. Giving birth and post-delivery recovery at a public hospital is free to all Medicare card holders.

Private Hospital

25.2 per cent of mothers who gave birth in an Australian hospital in 2014 opted to go through the private healthcare system. Although it is available to everyone, there are large rebates available for those with a private healthcare provider, such as Medibank, AHM or BUPA. However, even with private healthcare, there will most likely be some out-of-pocket expenses to consider. Mater Hospital in Mackay comes with private recovery rooms, special meal plans and your choice of obstetrician to deliver your baby.

Birth Centre

Only 1.8 per cent of women opted to give birth in a birth centre in 2014; however, this is most likely because birth centres are not available in every town. Mackay is lucky enough to have one of Queensland’s leading birth centres – Mackay Birth Centre, which provides a homely birthing experience. However, you will need to book into the birth centre (as early as possible) and your pregnancy must be deemed ‘low-risk’. The Mackay Birth Centre operates through the public health care system which means your stay is free. You will still have access to qualified midwives, doctors and all the specialist services you may require.

Doula and Home Birth Services

During labour, you are going to need support. Many mums will rely on a doula to provide them with one-onone guidance. A doula can join you in the private or public hospital or you may wish to give birth at home with the support of a doula by your side. Only 0.3 per cent of births in Australia are home births. However, this number is most likely going to increase as more mums become aware of this option. Home births offer a personalised experience in the comfort of your own home; however, the main downfall is that you don’t have immediate access to medical staff and support.

Pre-Natal and Post-Natal Care

In the lead up to the birth, you will be required to attend regular pre-natal appointments, which can also be done through the private healthcare system or public system. Through the private system you can choose which obstetrician to see for all of your appointments (and for your post-delivery check). Most obstetricians also offer a chance for a glimpse at your bub through an ultrasound every appointment.

Through the public healthcare system you will see whichever midwife is on duty on the day of your appointment with one 20 week ultrasound scheduled (or more if your pregnancy is ‘high-risk’). After you have had bub, the public healthcare system offers a unique midwife service in which a midwife will come to you, check that you and bub are settling in and offer support on sleeping, breastfeeding and more.

One Last Thing…

When it comes to childbirth, things don’t always go to plan. You may require medical care and need to go to hospital even though you wanted a home birth. You may end up delivering bub at home before making it to the hospital. When it comes to labour, anything can happen. So prepare as best you can and brace yourself for the wonderfully unpredictable experience of child birth.