Your maternity care options
Once you suspect you may be pregnant you need to make an appointment to see your general practitioner (GP).
If you do not have a regular GP you can find one:
Your GP will:
- confirm your pregnancy
- ask you about your medical history
- perform a health assessment
- provide you with pregnancy health information
- order any investigations needed (blood tests, ultrasound).
Your GP will also discuss your care options with you and provide information on the different types of maternity services available in your area.
This may include:
- GP shared-care
- public hospitals and the Family Birth Centre
- private obstetricians and hospitals
- community midwifery care
- private practice midwifery care
- Midwifery Group Practice.
Midwifery Group Practice is available to women within the local area that are less than 32 weeks pregnant. For more information contact the clinic or ask your midwife at your next antenatal appointment to refer you to the program.
Once you have made a decision about the type of care you’d like to receive, your GP will provide you with a referral letter and contact information.
GP shared-care is an option provided at many hospitals. This means your pregnancy care is shared between your doctor (GP) and your local hospital.
Your doctor will provide your antenatal appointments. An initial appointment will be made at the shared-care hospital at approximately 20 weeks of pregnancy.
If your pregnancy is uncomplicated, all further appointments will continue with your doctor until approximately 36 weeks of pregnancy.
After this time you will attend appointments at your hospital until you give birth.
Contact the antenatal clinic at your local hospital for details of doctors who provide shared-care in your area.
General hospital care
General hospital care is available for women experiencing an uncomplicated or low-risk pregnancy who do not require on-going specialist supervision.
General hospital care is offered at the public hospital closest to your home and is usually provided by hospital midwives, doctors and/or a local GP.
Find out which public maternity hospital is in your area.
Benefits of general hospital care
Having antenatal appointments and delivering your baby in your local community has many benefits, including:
- you will receive the best and most appropriate care for your needs
- being closer to home may make attending appointments more convenient
- getting to hospital when you are in labour will be easier
- your partner, family and friends may be close by and able to visit more often once your baby is born
- you can meet other new parents in your local area through antenatal classes and mothers’ groups.
Read more on the public metropolitan hospitals and the public regional hospitals that provide general hospital care in WA.
Family Birth Centre
The Family Birth Centre at King Edward Memorial Hospital is also a general hospital care provider and low-risk women from any locality can attend.
Private obstetricians and hospitals
As a private patient you are able to choose the doctor (obstetrician) and hospital you would prefer to provide your care. Part or all hospital costs will be covered by your private health insurance fund or at your own expense.
Antenatal appointments are usually held in your obstetrician’s private rooms or at a hospital antenatal clinic. These visits are not covered by private insurance, but may be part covered by Medicare.
Read more about private care and having a baby.
Community midwifery care
The Community Midwifery Program (external site) is available to women in Perth experiencing a low-risk pregnancy who are interested in having a home birth.
The program offers continuous midwifery care throughout your pregnancy, labour, birth and early postnatal period.
Antenatal appointments occur in your home and community based clinics.
No referral is necessary. Contact the Community Midwifery Program on 9301 9227 for more information.
Private practice midwifery care
Private practice midwives are practising midwives who are not linked to a hospital or the Community Midwifery Program. Antenatal care is provided to low-risk, healthy women in their own homes by the same midwife or group of midwives.
Read more about private care and having a baby.
Tertiary care in WA is provided at King Edward Memorial Hospital.
You will be referred for tertiary care by your GP or obstetrician if you:
- are assessed as being at high-risk of experiencing pregnancy complications
- require ongoing specialised care.
- have a history of complications with a previous pregnancy or birth
- have an existing medical condition
- be experiencing a complex pregnancy.
If you experience unexpected complications during pregnancy or in labour, you may be transferred to King Edward Memorial Hospital for specialist care. This includes women who have elected to use private care.
You are able to self-refer to some services including:
- Family Birth Centre at King Edward Memorial Hospital
- Community Midwifery WA
- private practice midwifery care.
Where to get help
- See your GP
- Call the Pregnancy, Birth and Baby Helpline on 1800 88 24 36
Women and Newborn Health Service
This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.