Expat Exchange - Expat Health Insurance & Healthcare Guide to Australia

Expat Health Insurance & Healthcare Guide to Australia

Expats share their experiences with healthcare and expat health insurance in Australia.

Share Your Healthcare Experiences Share Your Childbirth Experiences

Our new Expat Healthcare Guide is designed to collect and share information about expat healthcare and expat health insurance from expats in Australia. If you are already living in Australia, please take a few minutes to answer several questions in our Expat Healthcare Report.

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Having a Baby in Sydney, Australia

I had a baby at The Mater Hospital in North Sydney. It was a wonderful experience but very different from having a baby in the US - which is where I am from. People in Australia take maternity/birth very seriously and want to make sure you have the best available resources available to you. I had a scheduled C-Section and was in the hospital for 7 days (2 extra days due to my son having jaundice). The Mater is a private hospital, which was nice and I think we got more attention being it was private. The only downfall I would say is that they are very pro breastfeeding, which is great, but if there are problems, you feel like a failure using formula.

Having a Baby in Melbourne, Australia

My experience was fantastic. I was 5 months pregnant when i arrived in Australia. I was referred by a local GP for the 20 week scan which was amazing and around $100 or so after the medicare rebate. This was entitled to us under the reciprocal agreement with britain (and other countries), as we are british citizens. We were able to take away a recording of the scan on DVD and photos. Had the baby at RWH(Royal Womens Hospital) in melbourne - a non-private hospital, which had been renovated and in a new building from 3 months before. So all equipment, beds etc were new. This was all under medicare so i did not have to pay a cent - only had to pay for medication I took away with me after the birth.

Went in via ambulance (we had Ambulance membership and would advise everyone to get this whether or not they are pregnant!) Delivery room was HUGE with sofa, sink, computer and desk, attached ensuite bath, shower, toilet etc. Much better than you could ever imagine in NHS system (for those of you who are Brits reading this!). was given the gas, thats all I had. Was able to use the bath and shower as much as I wanted for pain relief which was great. Even used the gas while in the bath! After the birth, given a private room with a double bed, sink basin, nappy changing area, wardrobe, side tables and a semi-ensuite bathroom (shared in between my room and the next). Staff were all excellent, went in monday morning, came out Wednesday evening as I had a vaginal birth -(else you stay longer).

Having a Baby in Sydney, Australia

I am Malaysian and I live in Kuala Lumpur with my Australian husband. We decided to give birth in his hometown in Sydney.

We chose the Royal Women's Hospital (RHW)in Randwick. We traveled to Sydney when I was 4 months pregnant to look for a suitable OB and check out the hospital and even had a private tour of the facilities and I went back to KL happy and excited.

We left for Sydney when I was 30 weeks pregnant (to get away from the horrible haze in KL). The baby was breech and we opted for a C-section. I was booked in to give birth 1 week before the due date; 2 days before the birth I attended a pre-admission clinic at the RHW. We were briefed on the admin side of giving birth and they had seperate clinics for vaginal birth and caesarean. Some of the things they touched on was you have to do a blood test 1 day before the birth, cannot eat or drink from midnight the night before, we were given a thorough check-up by one of the GPs, what to bring to hospital etc. They answered every question we could think of. The hospital encourages breastfeeding and to have the baby room in with the mums.

On D-Day, hubby and I checked into the hospital at 7am. As a private patient, I was given a private room with an ensuite, it's not luxurious but it had everything for you and baby to be comfy. We had requested for hubby to stay and were given a camp bed for him at a small cost. Unfortunately the bed frame was so knobbly that hubby chose to put the mattress on the floor and slept there for 5 whole nights! In fact, when the baby would not settle at nights, my husband would cuddle the baby in his arms and they would both sleep on the floor. The midwives thought it was odd, but sweet. They allowed it as the baby was safer on the floor, if he had been sleeping on the bed, they wouldn't have allowed it.

The whole birth was totally painless and cozy - I just remember my husband next to me, smiling up at him, the anaesthesist making jokes and everyone was very jovial and efficient and it made us feel very comfortable.

The anaesthesist had volunteered to take photos for us and he was snapping away. The OB would keep us updated on the progress. He presented our baby daughter and she was quickly bundled up and handed to me. We got to hold her for a minute before she was whisked away for her Vitamin K shots, Apgar test and cleaned up. This was done within the operating theatre, just 5 metres away from me and I could see everything that they were doing to her. I urged hubby to go with the nurse while the OB finished on me.

The baby was handed back to us cleaned and bundled up and we had more photos taken. I was then wheeled into the recovery room where I was observed for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, hubby took baby upstairs to our room and I was wheeled back up.

I had midwives who came in almost immediately to help me breastfeed. I found it tough the first few days, but the midwives were so supportive and helpful. My daughter wanted to feed nearly every hour and every time a midwife would come and help me with my feeding technique.

There's no nursery there and all babies sleep with the mums but one night hubby and I were so exhausted that the midwives offered to take the baby to the nurses station for a few hours and let us have a bit of sleep.

The saline drip and catheter was taken out after 48 hours and I was encouraged to shower and try to walk. I never felt pressured or forced to do anything I didn't feel ready for. Several times I found the recovery painful and the midwives and my OB were very quick to prescribe me stronger painkillers.

Your meals were delivered to the room the first couple of days, but if you felt better after that you could go to the dining room and eat buffet style. They fed us well, the food was simple but nourishing and I found that I was ravenous all the time. There were a couple of cafes in the hospital and hubby would buy me deli sandwiches and yoghurts there.

Hubby and I were consulted on everything regarding the baby eg. everytime they weighed & measured her, vaccination shots, hearing tests etc. Unlike in Malaysia, my friends who had given birth in KL were never consulted or their permission asked before the staff handled their babies.

They had lots of classes everyday that you could attend such as bathing baby, how to settle baby, breastfeeding clinics and tips on baby care.

They even have volunteer massage therapists coming to give free massages, I had a wonderful hour of back and leg massage.

I had a meltdown on the 4th day and couldn't stop crying. Upon my request, the midwives put a Do Not Disturb sign on my door and would vet my guests for me cause I didn't want any visitors that day. One of the midwives stayed for a long time with me, talking about post-natal depression and basically giving me a shoulder to cry on.

Our paediatrician would come and check the baby everyday and my OB would visit me daily too. I stayed as long as I could and was discharged 5 days later with very positive and happy memories of the whole experience.

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