Anyone can choose to use a private hospital for their pregnancy and labour care but generally it is only those with private health insurance that do. If you have private health insurance, make sure you check with your provider that you are covered for maternity costs. Families that don’t have private health cover can still use this service, but they will need to pay all fees ‘out-of-pocket’, which can be quite costly.
If you want to birth in a private hospital, you will also have access to a private obstetrician of your choice. Obstetricians generally work in one private hospital, so you may like to first find an obstetrician that you prefer, then make an appointment at the hospital they work in.
Private hospitals are well equipped and are prepared for both low risk and higher risk pregnancies that may need unexpected or planned medical care. The benefit of private care is that if you require emergency intervention (for example a caesarean section), you likely can stay in the same hospital with your chosen obstetrician. In some rare circumstances private hospitals cannot provide the necessary specialised medical care that is needed, and you will be transferred to a public hospital. Usually it is known in advance if you need to be transferred and this will occur during pregnancy. For example, if it is known your baby will need immediate life-saving surgery.
Private hospitals can offer a more comfortable environment than public hospitals, and this is often why they are chosen. Smaller and quieter waiting rooms during pregnancy is one bonus. Fewer women using the labour ward at the same time helps to provide a more relaxed and less rushed environment. And many women enjoy having access to a private room in the hospital after birth, where they and their partner can slowly get to know their baby in a supported environment.