As an alternative to public hospitals, private hospitals offer more choice and personalised care during your pregnancy and childbirth – but they involve extra costs. If you are considering having your baby in a private hospital, you must plan ahead. In fact, you need to decide before you even start trying for a pregnancy; there is usually a 12-month waiting period for health insurance that includes pregnancy and birth-related services.

Finding an obstetrician and private hospital

If you already have an obstetrician, you will need to attend the private hospital they work at. If you don’t yet have your own obstetrician, you can choose the private hospital first. The hospital will provide you with a list of obstetricians who work there.

If you’re not sure where to start, talk to your GP. They’ll be able to give you some advice and will provide you with a referral to the obstetrician.

Pregnancy care

Once you have an obstetrician, your antenatal (pre-childbirth) appointments are likely to be at their private consulting rooms. You might see the obstetrician, or you might see a midwife they’ve employed to do routine checks, organise tests and scans, and provide information. The obstetrician or midwife can provide you with details of birth classes that you can attend, which can be a great source of information and a way of meeting other pregnant women in your area.

Hospital care

When you go into labour, private care will usually be provided by your obstetrician and a midwife. Private hospitals offer private or shared rooms and, depending on the plan and your pregnancy, you can usually stay three to five days after the birth.


The cost of having your baby in a private hospital might be covered in part or in full by private health insurance – it will depend on your level of cover. Check with your health fund for costs, waiting periods and details of what is covered by out-of-pocket expenses.

Some of the costs that could be involved are:

  • Your obstetrician’s services – costs vary so you will need to find this out from your own obstetrician. Medicare covers some of the cost of each appointment.
  • Your hospital stay – at least some of this will be covered by your health insurance and Medicare, but you may have some out-of-pocket expenses and/or an excess to pay. Check with your hospital and health fund.
  • Possible other costs – for example, anaesthetic for a caesarean section. Check with your obstetrician for details.
  • Tests and ultrasound scans – some could be partly covered by Medicare.
  • Antenatal classes – check with your health fund to see if rebates are available.

If you don’t have private health insurance, you can still choose to have your baby in a private hospital, but the costs can climb rapidly. Another option is to be a private patient in a public hospital, which provides some benefits and reduced costs. If you are considering this option, contact the public hospitals in your area for more details.