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Gladstone birthing services

For expectant mothers in Gladstone that may be impacted by the bypass, you can view additional information in this patient fact sheet.The fact sheet provides answers to some of our most commonly asked questions about birthing at Gladstone Hospital.

You can also contact your Midwifery Group Practice or the Gladstone Hospital Maternity Unit on (07) 4976 3258 for assessment and advice at any time.

Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service has been re-introducing birthing services at Gladstone Hospital in a phased approach since the recommencement of elective caesareans by appointment (where it was clinically required) last October. On Wednesday 1 February, we moved into Phase 2 of the reintroduction of birthing services, with 24/7 care for obstetric emergencies.

Extensive work has been undertaken by CQ Health to recruit qualified medical professionals to cover long-term leave and vacancies, while also building a framework for the Maternity Care Network across Central Queensland that will deliver a safe and sustainable long-term solution for maternity care in the region.

Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive, Dr Emma McCahon, is committed to the resumption of full birthing services at Gladstone Hospital and said the health service would continue to exhaust every possible recruitment avenue in order to ensure that happens.

“I want expectant mothers, and our local community to know that we are working tirelessly to deliver a sustainable workforce at Gladstone Hospital, and across Central Queensland, for maternity care. There is an absolute commitment from us to return birthing to the local community,” she said.

“We now have the staffing levels to ensure obstetric emergencies can be managed 24/7. This is an important step forwards to ensuring that expectant mothers can deliver as close to home as possible.”

Expectant mothers will continue to be updated by their multidisciplinary maternity care team about birthing services, however those with concerns or questions are encouraged to phone or visit the Gladstone Hospital Women and Newborn Unit on (07) 4976 3258 where they will be assessed by experienced midwives and an appropriate and safe plan will be put in place.

An overview of Gladstone Hospital birthing services, and what it means for a hospital to be on bypass, is available below.


At Gladstone Hospital, maternity care has always been provided by a multi-disciplinary team of highly qualified midwives, doctors, nurses and allied health professionals.

Currently however, staff shortages mean we’re unable to provide a full range of obstetric and gynaecological care.

Until qualified medical professionals can be recruited, birthing services at Gladstone Hospital will be on bypass.

Gladstone Hospital birthing services will only be reinstated when we can ensure the safe provision of care for mothers and babies. Our ultimate goal is to deliver safe and sustainable maternity care for mothers and babies as close to home as possible.

What is bypass?

When a birthing service is on bypass, it means you and your baby may be transferred to another hospital, to allow us to provide you with safe and appropriate care.

Birthing services go on bypass if they need help to manage instances of unusually high demand, or are unable to sustain service delivery because of workforce shortages – as is currently the case for Gladstone Hospital.

With Gladstone Hospital maternity services on bypass, the closest and best alternate birthing option is usually Rockhampton Hospital.

Why is this happening?

Health services across the world are experiencing challenges recruiting healthcare workers, especially doctors, nurses, midwives and obstetric specialists.

In Queensland, and more broadly across Australia, having adequate obstetric specialty available is an ongoing challenge. As a result, both Federal and State Governments have identified this as a key focus for workforce planning

It is often difficult, especially in regional health services to fill clinical vacancies.

Recruiting suitably qualified health workers to the Gladstone Hospital’s maternity service has been particularly challenging – but we are doing everything in our power and exploring every opportunity.

Our current priority is hiring obstetric specialists to continue delivering the best possible care to you and your baby.

More broadly, we are progressing a variety of strategies to improve the recruitment and retention of our health workforce in Central Queensland. This work is under way and includes expanding our capacity and skill set across the Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service, working with our existing hardworking workforce, looking to expand our workforce base and engaging with private sector locums to address shortfalls if these occur in the future.

What does this mean for me?

Our staff will remain in regular contact with expectant mothers in Gladstone.

We will identify if Rockhampton Hospital, or another hospital, is best suited to provide the care you need.

When your baby is due, you may be asked to come to Gladstone Hospital first so you can be assessed before a decision is made to transfer your care to another hospital. These decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

When it is safe to do so, and if you are not considered high-risk, you will be transferred to the alternate hospital for delivery.

Copies of all your medical records, as well as a summary of your pregnancy and care so far, will be provided to the alternate hospital.

You will be transferred via Ambulance, from Gladstone Hospital to the alternate hospital, at no cost to you. If it is safe to do so, you may be able to make your own way to the alternate hospital.

Accommodation support is available, while you are away from home, with no cost to you.

No matter where you give birth, Gladstone Hospital staff will provide pre- and post-natal care to you and your baby.

If you are pregnant and have any questions or concerns, please contact your Midwifery Group Practice (MGP) midwife or the Gladstone Hospital Maternity Unit on (07) 4976 3258 for assessment and advice.

The future of birthing services in Gladstone

We understand your health outcomes suffer when healthcare services are fragmented.

It is our goal to create a healthcare structure and culture that prioritises patient-centred care.

We are building a long-term plan for the Central Queensland Health Maternity Care Network. It is our goal to provide a coordinated, collaborative model for delivering safe, sustainable obstetric care closest to home for our mothers and babies.

This project has involved extensive consultation with our hardworking staff currently working in maternity care delivery, and more broadly across the health service. We look forward to sharing updates on this project as it progresses.

In the meantime, we are progressing a number of options to fill service gaps, including centralising graduate midwifery recruitment, improving our education and training opportunities such as supporting our staff to access advanced neonatal training, upgrading equipment and expanding rural generalist models across Central Queensland.

In the meantime, we will continue to update the community.

We sincerely thank expectant mothers, their families and the broader Gladstone community for your understanding during this time as we continue to do everything possible to return birthing services to Gladstone Hospital.

For general information on Maternity Care across Central Queensland please visit our maternity web page.

Gladstone Hospital offers quality maternity service to all patients, both public and private. We deliver around 600 babies each year.

Our maternity unit has:

  • Three birth suites
  • 14 bed antenatal/postnatal ward (including 2 single rooms which may be available if you have private health cover)
  • Neonatal Nursery

Maternity care options:

  • sharing your care between GP and hospital
  • midwifery group practice
  • total hospital care or
  • private care with an obstetrician or a midwife

More information about maternity care options

Antenatal clinics

Antenatal midwives clinics are offered five days week (Monday to Friday).

If you require obstetric appointments during your pregnancy these are available on Thursdays.

If you have diabetes (Gestational, type 1 or type 2) you will be attend our multi-disciplinary clinic which is offered on Tuesday. At this clinic you will see an obstetrician, diabetes educator, dietician and midwife.

Antenatal classes

We offer an antenatal education program every second Saturday of the month from 9.00am – 3.00pm at the Gladstone Hospital antenatal clinic.

The classes are designed for women who are around 30 weeks pregnant. Topics include:

  • how to look after yourself during pregnancy
  • signs of labour and when to come to hospital
  • breastfeeding hints and tips
  • tour of the maternity ward

To book in for antenatal classes, speak to your midwife or book through the antenatal clinic by phoning 4976 3207.

When to come to hospital

Please present yourself to the maternity unit immediately if:

  • your waters have broken
  • you have bleeding from the vagina
  • you are having regular pains or contractions 5-10 minutes apart
  • you have severe abdominal pain
  • there are any changes in your baby’s movements. For example, if the movements are less frequent, more than usual or if you have any other concerns around your baby’s movements.

Phone the maternity unit before coming in, if you have time.

Rest period

We encourage mothers to rest between 1.00pm and 4.00pm daily. Please respect the needs of other patients and keep noise to a minimum between these times.

Photographs and video

You are encouraged to bring a camera for those special memories. If you do however wish to photograph/video the birth please speak with your midwife/doctor caring for you.

While we aim to make this a positive experience for you, please understand your midwife/doctor may not wish to be included in images of your birth.

Last updated: 16 March 2023

Contact us

Maternity Unit
Level 2, Block 1
Gladstone Hospital
Park Street

Phone: (07) 4976 3375

Please ring the maternity unit before coming in so we can be prepared for your arrival.

Video: welcome to the Maternity Unit

watch the Gladstone Hospital maternity unit video

Antenatal classes are now available online.

CQ Health antenatal classes