So you just found out you are pregnant, congratulations!
....but now what? What are your options and how do you choose what's right for you?
Your birth location and provider can have a big impact on your birth experience so it's good to invest a little time to find an option that suits you best.
Let me start off by acknowledging that unlike capital cities such as Sydney or Melbourne we don't currently have a huge range of options for pregnancy and birth here in the Illawarra.
Maybe one day that will change and more options will be available (wishing for a birth centre!) but at the moment the main choice is which hospital you will deliver your baby.
Private or Public?
This choice will largely depend on whether you have private health insurance that includes obstetrics. If you do then you have the option of birthing at Wollongong Private. You can also choose to be a private patient in a public hospital and choose your own obstetrician and birth at Wollongong Public (though not all of our local ob's have admitting rights to the public hospital so you will have to check with your chosen doctor).
If you don't have private health cover your choices are the public hospitals at either Wollongong or Shoalhaven (Nowra), hiring your own private midwife, or paying out of pocket for a private obstetrician and the hospital fees at Wollongong Private
Public Hospital Options
Within the public system you have a few options for care, from shared care with a GP, Midwifery Group Practice, antenatal clinics at Wollongong and Shellharbour etc. (SEE GUIDE BELOW FOR FULL DETAILS)
Home birth in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven
If you would like to have a midwife assisted homebirth then you can either hire a privately practising midwife or apply to the Midwifery Group Practice for a home birth.
If you hire your own midwife then you will have some out of pocket costs. If you secure a spot on the MGP then Medicare covers your care at no cost to you. When completing the application for the MGP its a good idea to mention that you are planning a home birth.
Can I have a water birth in Wollongong?
Wollongong Hospital has two baths available to labour and birth in. Using the baths is dependent on a) availability b) not having any 'risk' factors c) someone on staff that day being trained to attend water births. Each delivery room has a shower in the ensuite that you can use.
Wollongong Private does not allow water births but has showers in each room available for use.
Good luck on your pregnancy and birth journey! If you have any questions or want to chat about what's the best option for you please contact me on 0416 180207 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
To see the complete list of maternity care options click on the image below
Want to compare the statistics at our local hospitals?
Check out the latest birth stats here