Updated: Feb 10, 2020
Choosing the place to give birth to your baby is a very personal decision. It may be that you have had the place you want to birth picked out since before you became pregnant and have everything planned and under control, but you may also feel confused and lack information about the choices available to you.
In Mackay there are a few choices available to women, some of which are only available if you meet specific criteria; the Mackay Base Hospital (public), the Mater Hospital (private), the Mackay Birth Centre (public for low risk women) and home-birth.
The public hospital is free, has a special care nursery and the birth suite is staffed by qualified midwives. If you choose to birth here, you will attend antenatal clinic at the hospital (possibly in conjunction with shared care from your G.P), you will give birth in the birth suite and you will see whichever midwife is rostered on at the time of your arrival. Mackay Base Hospital caters for women with both high and low risk pregnancies and you will not pay any money regardless of whether you give birth vaginally or by caesarian section. Your partner will not be able to stay with you after you give birth and you will probably be sharing a room with another woman for the duration of your stay.
The Mackay Hospital does offer a Midwifery group Practice program, which means you will see the same small group of midwives throughout your pregnancy, birth and postnatal period. This is a popular choice, as it ensures you will be seeing a familiar face and the midwives who provide your care will know your history and plans, but places are limited.
Giving birth at the Mater Private Hospital means that you will have your care through an obstetrician who will aim to be present at the birth of your baby, however if the obstetrician you see is not on call when you give birth, you will see the obstetrician on call for that day. You will be cared for in labour by midwives, and the obstetrician will only be called for the actual birth of your baby, or if issues arise during you labour. You will have a private room and your partner will be able to stay with you for however long you are in the hospital. The Mater hospital is a private hospital, which means you will pay for whatever care you receive and costs vary depending on whether you have a vaginal birth or a Cesarean. The cost of an epidural is an extra expense.
The Mackay Birth Centre is situated next to the Mackay Base Hospital, and if you choose to birth there, you will see the same two midwives throughout your pregnancy, birth and postnatal period. The Birth Centre is free of charge but is only available to women with a low risk pregnancy and if you decide that you want an epidural, you will be transferred to the hospital. Women can have their families stay with them in the Birth Centre but are discharged 24 hours after birth and are visited at home by the same midwives for a number of days after birth. The Birth Centre is very popular, and places are limited due to the nature of the care provided.
Women in the Mackay area are also able to have a home birth, although this would require employing a home birth midwife. As there are currently none practicing in the Mackay area, you would need to find one who is happy to travel to Mackay. Home birth midwives charge to attend your birth, the cost of which is often not claimable on private health insurance.
Other information you may want to consider, when choosing the place you plan to birth, are the rate of inductions for the facility, the rate of Cesareans for the facility, whether you have private insurance and what the average amount of time women are able to stay for after giving birth. Information about these things, and much more, is available from your midwife, obstetrician or from Dauntless Birth education sessions.