Having a Baby in Australia
Having a baby in Australia leaves many options for expectant expat mothers who may choose between public or private hospitals, birthing centres or even in their own homes.
A hospital delivery is always required for those who are dealing with high-risk pregnancies. Babies who are born in the country to parents who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents can automatically acquire Australian citizenship on their 10th birthday if they have lived most of their life in Australia. Dual citizenship laws may be applied, depending on the nationality of the parents.
When giving birth in a public hospital, the woman is automatically covered by Medicare and does not have to pay a single cent on top of an entitlement to a cash gift from the government. However, she may not choose her own obstetrician as compared to women who give birth in private hospitals who have all the freedom to make their own choice.
Those giving birth in private facilities may also be covered by private health insurance Australia or international health insurance Australia, although this often requires at least 12 months as waiting period before any benefits may be claimed. Birthing centres, which are often government-run, will not entail any cost but will admit only women with low-risk pregnancies. The same is true for home births which may be possible with either an obstetrician or a midwife of the woman's choice.
Prenatal care under a public obstetrician is completely covered by Medicare but ultrasound, blood tests and other maternal diagnostic exams will require upfront payment with up to 70% reimbursement by Medicare. Private practitioners have the discretion whether or not to accept private insurance coverage.
Australia is one of the safest places for both mother and child with its array of world-class hospitals and birthing facilities making this possible. Of course, competent obstetricians and other health care professionals make the other half of what earns this country such a reputation.