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Pregnancy: Options of Care

The Cairns Maternity Unit offers a variety of models of care for pregnancy and birth. Our models of care are provided by caring and dedicated health practitioners in partnership with you and your support network. A Midwife will discuss these options at your first appointment. Options of care available to you are based on your personal preference and the overall health and wellbeing of you and your baby. What option suits you best?

GP share care

This option is available for women who prefer to have the majority of their visits with their GP. It is recommended you attend visits at the hospital for booking-in at 12 - 14 weeks & again at 36 weeks for a midwife/doctor’s visit. Subsequent appointments are dependent on your categorisation of risk.

Midwifery Group Practice - Continuity of Care

Midwifery Group Practice (MGP) is a type of maternity care where women are supported by a known midwife for their pregnancy, labour, birth and postnatal care (approx. 4 weeks).

Most of the pregnancy and post birth visits will be with the primary midwife who is also on call for labour care. The midwife works in a small group, and women can meet these midwives during the pregnancy so that they know them if back up is required (eg when the midwife is on leave or not on call when labour begins). Each group of midwives is called a MGP. Appointments may be in the home, community centre of hospital.

MGP care is offered to women with low to moderate complicating factors. The midwife will consult with an obstetrician as needed. Those with higher level complications are not eligible for this service.

Numbers in this model are limited, early referral is recommended.

Call the Antenatal Clinic on (07) 4226 8760 or ask your GP to send a referral by 8 - 10 weeks

Obstetric Team care

This type of Antenatal care is only required by women who:

  • Have a complicated medical history
  • Have had a previous difficult pregnancy requiring specialist care and/or hospitalisation
  • Have a pregnancy that is not progressing normally
  • Have a multiple pregnancy e.g. Twins

The Clinic is staffed by a number of Doctors which include hospital staff specialists, visiting specialists, trainee Doctors and GP’s – these staff members have varying commitments within the hospital and may not be in attendance for the same clinics each week. This may mean that you may see a different staff member at each visit.

We will endeavour to meet preferences e.g. female doctor/midwife but are unable to guarantee such requests.

Cairns Hospital is also a training hospital and the Maternity Unit has various students attached to the service e.g. Midwifery, Medical and other health professions; these students may be involved and present for some of your care during your pregnancy, labour and postnatal period.

Cairns Birth Centre

A Birth Centre is a birth space separate from the main Birth Suite and runs with the understanding that, for most women, pregnancy and birth is a normal life event requiring little intervention. It offers a homely, relaxed atmosphere, and is located on the same floor as the Birth Suite & Maternity ward.

Women must be with MGP care to use the Birth Centre

The Cairns Hospital’s Birth Centre has 3 birth rooms, all equipped with an ensuite, large bath, armchair and double bed. Mats, birth balls, birth stool, aromatherapy diffusers and hot packs are available. There is a family waiting room, kitchenette and assessment room. The option of water birth is available.

Women choosing the Birth Centre should be committed to active labour and birth without medicated pain relief and planning to go home 4-6 hours after the birth. There is no option for postnatal inpatient care within the Birth Centre. If there are medical recommendations for mother or baby to remain in hospital after 6 hours, accommodation will be in the Maternity Unit.

Vaginal Birth after Caesarean (VBAC)

If you have had a previous caesarean section (C/S), you may plan to birth your baby either via a VBAC or a repeat elective C/S, depending on the initial reason you had your first one. A VBAC is when a woman has a vaginal birth after having one or more previous C/S. A repeat elective C/S is where a woman plans another C/S to birth her baby. Both VBAC and repeat elective C/S have risks and benefits to be considered when deciding the best option for you and your baby. These risks are largely dependent on your individual situation including the reason why you had the first C/S.

Last updated: 17 September 2018