Choices for Your Pregnancy and Birth Care

To locate pregnancy services in the Northern NSW area

07 5506 7490   Tweed Women’s Care Unit
02 6672 0238  Murwillumbah Midwifery Group Practice
02 6639 9850  Byron Midwifery Group Practice
02 6620 7400 Lismore Women’s Care Unit
02 6640 2222 Grafton Women’s Care Unit
Welcome to Northern NSW Maternity Services. We provide collaborative health care with a team of midwives, doctors and allied health care workers. Most women in Northern NSW have their babies in one of our public hospitals. Public maternity care in Australia is a safe, affordable option that offers many birth choices. Most of the cost of your care is covered by Medicare, if you are eligible.

Deciding on who will care for you during pregnancy and where you want to give birth is an important decision you will need to make. You have a few different choices for your pregnancy care; the choice determines who cares for you and where. We encourage you to talk to your midwife or doctor early in pregnancy to discuss your options. Some options might not be available, depending on the hospital, where you live and your health.

Midwifery Clinics

Your pregnancy care is with midwives at one of our hospital midwives clinics. This option is for women who are having a healthy, normal-risk pregnancy. If you experience any complications, you can be referred to see a doctor at the hospital. It is likely you will see a few different midwives during your pregnancy. At the birth, the midwives and doctors on duty in the birthing unit care for you. After the birth, midwives on the postnatal ward care for you. Our hospitals offer home visits by a midwife, Midwifery in the Home.

For women who are experiencing pregnancies with no health problems. A midwife is a woman’s lead antenatal care provider. The midwife collaborates with medical doctors, specialists and supporting services.

  • Midwifery clinics are available at Tweed, Lismore, Murwillumbah and Grafton hospitals. We also offer midwifery outreach clinics at Ballina, Casino and Kyogle Hospitals.

Aboriginal and Maternal Infant Health Service (AMIHS)

The Aboriginal and Maternal Infant Health Service (AMIHS) is a culturally appropriate continuity-of-care model maternity model of care. Midwives, Aboriginal Health Workers and Aboriginal mothers, babies and families work together.

  • AMIHS is available from Lismore, Ballina, Byron, Casino, Kyogle and Clarence Valley.

Shared Care

This care is between your local general practitioner (GP) and our hospital obstetricians or midwives. Some of your care is with your GP, and you also come to the hospital for some appointments. Not all GPs offer shared care. If your doctor doesn’t offer shared care, ask at the hospital for a list of GPs in your area who do offer shared care. One of the benefits of GP shared care is that you develop a long-term relationship with a doctor who can continue to look after you and your baby once your baby arrives and care is usually close to home.

  • Available at Tweed, Murwillumbah, Byron, Lismore and Grafton.

Obstetric Specialist Clinics

In this option, your pregnancy care is through the hospital doctor’s clinic or in the community at one of our outreach clinics, depending on the hospital you attend. This option is for women who have health concerns and/or whose pregnancies are complex. It is likely you will see a few different midwives and doctors during your pregnancy.

  • Available at Tweed, Lismore and Grafton Hospitals.

Midwifery Group Practice

A small group of midwives care for you during your pregnancy, labour, birth and afterwards. Most of your care is given by one midwife, called a primary midwife. Your pregnancy visits might be at the hospital or in the community. For more information and to register your interest click here

  • Available at Tweed, Murwillumbah, Byron and Lismore Hospitals.

Home Birth

A publically funded (Medicare) home birth is available to women under the care of Byron Midwifery Group Practice midwives. This service is backed up with the support of the ambulance service and Tweed and Lismore Hospitals if transfer is needed. If you would like to explore the option of home birth please get in touch here.

You can also choose a homebirth by hiring a privately practising midwife.

  • Available at Byron Central Hospital.

Private Pregnancy Care

Some women choose their own care provider to look after them during their pregnancy and birth. This means you book in to see a private obstetrician, a GP who does antenatal care, or a privately practising midwife. You can choose a private practitioner who practices in a private hospital, a public hospital or attends home birth. You will have to pay for the cost of your care (which varies but can be high). Most women who choose these options have private health insurance to help cover the costs.

Private Obstetrician

With this option you receive pregnancy care from a private obstetrician and you will see them at their rooms. You will be cared for in labour by midwives employed by the hospital but your doctor will be closely involved and will normally be present at the birth of your baby.

  • Private obstetric care is available at Lismore and Grafton Hospitals

Private Midwife

Some women choose to have a home birth with a privately practising midwife. The midwife will care for you through your pregnancy, birth and after the baby is born. ‘Eligible’ private midwives have a Medicare Provider Number. This means that the services they provide are covered by Medicare although, as with doctors, there may be a fee “gap”. Ask your midwife for payment details and possible rebates for her services.

Private midwives are not currently able to provide birth care within our hospitals.

Hospital Costs

  • If you’re eligible for a Medicare card, Medicare covers the cost of your care.
  • If you choose shared care or live rurally, some of your care might be with your GP. Some GPs will bulk bill. If they do not bulk bill, you will need to pay the difference between their fee and the Medicare rebate.
  • Sometimes, there might be a cost for tests and ultrasound scans. You can often get some money back through Medicare.
  • There might be a cost for antenatal classes.
  • Ask your midwife or doctor about any other costs.

It’s possible to be a private patient in a public hospital. This will lead to extra costs. If you’re interested in this option, call the public hospital and ask to speak to patient administration.