Giving birth is a life-changing experience that a mother will always remember, so it is important your birth memory is a positive one. You can foster this by being informed of and knowing your birthing options. I’ve found one of the most common discussions around birthing options is whether to choose a public or private hospital for birth in Australia – it’s an important personal decision and a significant one at that, as it can affect your experience depending on the level of support you are after. As a mum of two, I’ve experienced birth in both, so thought I would share my journey with you and hope it will help other mothers make their choice regarding the need for private health cover for pregnancy and beyond.
Every pregnancy and birth experience is different
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Firstly, I want to note that every pregnancy and birth is different. Likewise, every experience of public and private hospitals is different too – there are so many variables involved from patient needs to staff personalities and staff to patient ratios, size and location. This article outlines my experiences and opinions only. It is best that you make your choice after speaking with a health care professional and your family, to discern which type of care will be best for your birth.
Finley’s birth (Canberra, 2016):
I chose to go private with my first baby, so Finn was born in a private hospital in Canberra under the guidance of an obstetrician/gynaecologist. I had a relatively normal, healthy pregnancywith no big complications. For me, under the private health system, I loved that I had access to continued care under the same doctor throughout my whole pregnancy and the birth they knew me, and my pregnancy. This was a big plus for me as a first time Mum, and I was willing to pay for the privilege!
Going private also meant I had access to my own room, which even had a queen-sized bed. My hubby was looked after too, with his meals provided by the hospital as well.
Last but not least, we stayed in hospital for five days and had on-call assistance from fantastic midwives who taught us so much and provided reassurance, encouragement and support as we learnt how to care for a newborn.
On the other hand, using our private pregnancy cover meant we were out-of-pocket about $5,500. As with many things in life, you have to pay for any “extra” value. NB: this amount will change depending on the cover and doctor you have.
Aria’s birth (Canberra, 2019):
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4 WEEKS TO GO!✨Little photoshoot to remember how amazing the body is. Special thanks to: – hubby for the – Finn for makeup touch ups (lip balm he found on the ground ) – @underarmourau for the workout wear. Absolutely in love with this new UA floral collection!! The lines are so soft & feminine but the colours so rich, strong and full of love – just like all the amazing Mama’s out there. Have a great weekend celebrating the special Mothers in your life!
Aria’s pregnancy was also healthy and relatively complication free. She was born in the Canberra public hospital. Although the public system (in some states) offers a continuity of care program with a midwife, I was too late in organising where I was giving birth to join this program, so each time I had a check-up for my pregnancy, it was with a different midwife. My primary carers during Aria’s birth and pregnancy were varying midwives, although I was lucky enough to see a couple twice during pregnancy.
You can read Aria’s birth story in detail here.
For me, one of the benefits of going through the public health system for pregnancy meant there was little to no cost. I was lucky I had great midwives as my main source of care, but as I mentioned, the downside was I saw someone different for the majority of my check-ups and during my birth. In the public system, the continuity of care with the same doctors and midwives isn’t guaranteed, and you usually have little time with doctors if you’re not having a complicated birth. There’s also a high chance you won’t have your own room post-birth, you usually only stay for one night and there was no option for my husband to stay overnight, unlike at a private hospital.
My private health cover
I still have private health cover for hospital and extras for both myself and my family. I regularly use it when we see specialist doctors, dentists, physiotherapists, nutritionists and other allied health care professionals, so I find it highly valuable. I feel it gives me the freedom to give the kids and myself the best access to health care, without hesitation due to the cost – the benefits outweigh the costs.
So which do I recommend for you? A Public or Private Hospital for Birth in Australia?
Every person, pregnancy, child and hospital experience is different. In essence, private hospital care works towards a better birthing experience because you pay for more individualised and attentive care.
Now, I’m not saying you won’t have a great public hospital experience, but the odds aren’t as high that it will be as positive because there are more variables involved in the public health care system. In saying that, we have a fantastic public health care system in Australia, that I’ve only had good experiences with personally. It’s important to keep in mind most health funds have a 12-month waiting period for pregnancy cover, so you will need to make that choice before you fall pregnant!
Get private health cover
I highly recommend always having private health cover for hospital and extras for yourself and your children, whether or not you decide to include pregnancy cover as part of that. There is less wait time for surgery and you can see your preferred specialist or health care practitioner. Don’t forget the Australian government offers rebate and tax benefits for those who have private health cover too!
Find the private health cover that suits you best
The most important thing is finding the private health cover that suits you and your stage of life best. I recommend choosing a not-for profit health insurer like Peoplecare.This way you know they are striving to please members (you!), not shareholders looking for a dividend return (i.e. not company owners, looking for extra money in their pocket).
Private health cover needs vary from person to person, so it is best to talk this through with a professional, caring person. When I say person, I don’t mean sit on the phone to a robot and scream your concern for the 5thtime because it continues to reply ‘I’m sorry, could you please tell me again what your call relates to?’ #aintnobodygottimeforthat. Where at Peoplecare, they have PEOPLE that answer the phones. Plus, Peoplecare is happy to have a chat and see if their product can better suit your needs and will happily point you in the right direction – whether that’s with them or someone else. Honestly that is refreshing, isn’t it?! You don’t have to go to a big company to get better service.
I wish you all the best with your birthing experience and hope this has been helpful for you! If you’re a mum, I would love to hear your birth experiences, advice and recommendations in the comments below!
This post is proudly sponsored by Peoplecare. All thoughts and opinions are my own and I only work with brands I truly believe are beneficial to my readers. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Eat Pray Workout possible!