Deciding whether to have a hospital or homebirth on the Sunshine Coast?  Whatever you decide, a private midwife can help you to plan for a wonderful labour, birth and post-natal period – and to be with you every step of the way.

In this post we discuss why the location of your birth is not a decision you need to make immediately, some of the factors that really matter for contributing to a SAFE birth no matter what environment you are in, the surprises that may change your decision about birth location and the question of cost.

Questions about Hospital or Homebirth

It’s a meet and greet day at Know your Midwife on the Sunshine Coast where women come to meet the midwives and discuss our Circle of Care program, their pregnancy and birth plans, and the cost.

Today we had three couples who are here early in their pregnancy which is great, 8 weeks gestation and they’re planning their best birthing experience with a private midwife in mind.

One of the first things I notice each woman say is “I don’t know whether I can do a homebirth, in fact, I don’t know whether I want a hospital or homebirth”.

The partners nod in agreement.

I reassure them that that’s not a decision they need to make right now as many things can influence their decision throughout their pregnancy but the most important point I make is that we, as a practice, are about a SAFE birth, wherever the environment may be.

You don’t need to decide now…

I explain that if we plan exclusively for a hospital birth, we may find that things happen quickly and that birth at home, in fact, is the safer place in which to bring their baby into the world.

Also, a planned homebirth may have indicators in the labour, either with the mother or the baby that we are better to birth in the hospital.

Whichever environment, it’s about having the best birthing experience possible. We have many women who can tell their stories about each scenario and they still had a joyful, fulfilling outcome. They would meet some of these women in the program as they come to some sessions to tell their story.

And as we go on to discuss their fears, concerns and wishes for pregnancy and birthing care, there comes the discussion of cost. As a midwife and caregiver, I find money a difficult aspect to address. How do we price our care?

Sunshine Coast Private Midwifery - Hospital or Homebirth

How do we price our care?

I explain that Know Your Midwife has a management fee which covers all business running costs like those of a dentist, accountant, obstetrician, doctor……our admin costs are no different from theirs for office costs, equipment, educational material, insurances etc.

The management fee has minimal medicare rebate as it’s included in the initial booking visit but will put our client over the extended medicare safety net. The difference in the rest of our billing compared to other professions is that we then become on call  7/24  for our women throughout their pregnancy, birth and 6 week postnatal period.

No other profession provides this care for their client.

Quantifying a labour of love

Most women actually book around  10 – 12 week gestation.

Most birth between 37 – 42 weeks but we have others birth both side of these weeks and we care for 95% of all clients for 6 weeks postnatally.

That is an average of 7,728 hrs per client if you consider we are essentially “on call” to respond during that period.

We get text messages, phone calls, pre labour care, labour care, emergency visits, breast feeding problems, administrative requests …at all times of day and night….and that is the service we provide.

We can never charge what we actually provide, that is, what women see us do and the hours that goes on behind the scene.  Women and their partners say they could never have done it without us….so what is the cost?

At the end of the day, I won’t justify further our fees, but if you want to find out more about the average fees for a home birth you can read my previous post about it here.   It all comes down to how much a woman values our care, their relationship and trust in their midwife’s continuity of care, and her understanding of how important this partnership is in the outcome of her journey.

The truth is, we would not change anything about being with women at birth, no matter how many hours it takes and whether it is a hospital or homebirth.

Every birth is an honour.  And every birth is a delightful surprise…no matter where we end up.

What about you – did you have a hospital or homebirth? Or did you have a surprise change to plans at the last minute?