Bookings & care options
I’m pregnant. Where do I go now?
Your local GP
If you suspect you are pregnant or you have had a positive result from an over-the-counter pregnancy test, the first thing to do is go to your local GP to confirm the pregnancy and have a check-up.
(If the pregnancy is unplanned and you are unsure what you will do, you can refer to our Unplanned pregnancy health information to help you with your decision-making).
Your GP will send a referral for you to your local maternity hospital, which will make an appointment for you.
Most pregnant women have uncomplicated (low-risk) pregnancies, meaning there is little risk that there will be any health problems for the woman or the baby because of pregnancy or birth. A small number of pregnant women are considered to have complicated (high-risk) pregnancies, meaning that there is a risk that their health might be affected by the pregnancy or that their baby will be born too early.
Your GP will ask you lots of questions about your health and medical history to determine if there are any issues that will affect your pregnancy.
Can I go to the Women’s to give birth?
Because most pregnancies and births are uncomplicated, it is recommended you go to your local maternity hospital for your pregnancy care and the birth of your baby.
Where you live determines which hospital is your local maternity hospital. In general, this means the hospital that is closest to where you live is your local maternity hospital.
If you are high-risk or something changes during your pregnancy to affect your health or the health of your baby (which happens in a small number of pregnancies), your care will be transferred to one of Victoria’s three tertiary hospitals for specialist care. The three tertiary hospitals are the Women’s, Monash Health, and Mercy Hospital for Women.
Making sure that women with uncomplicated pregnancies are cared for in local maternity hospitals means that the three tertiary hospitals are able to care for women who have more complicated pregnancies or suddenly require emergency care, labour or birth.
The Victorian maternity system is designed to make sure that all women get the right care, in the right place, at the right time.
The Royal Women’s Hospital provides pregnancy care for:
- All women who live in our local area, and
- Women from across Victoria who require tertiary care
If you do not live in the Women’s local area, you cannot book into the Women’s for your pregnancy care or the birth of your baby unless your pregnancy is considered to be high risk or have complications.
If you or your GP are unsure if you live within the Women’s local area, or whether your pregnancy might be high risk, your GP should contact the Women's.
Booking pregnancy care at the Women’s
You will need a GP referral for your pregnancy booking at the Women’s. Your first visit will take place at the Pregnancy Booking Clinic at the Women’s (either the Parkville or Sandringham site, depending on where you live) or at one of our community clinics.
At the Pregnancy Booking Clinic, your midwife or doctor needs to record a large amount of information and discuss a wide range of issues with you, including:
- When your baby is due
- Information that may affect your pregnancy
- An assessment of your health and your baby’s health, and whether you are likely to have a straightforward pregnancy or whether you have more complex and diverse pregnancy needs.
This is your opportunity to ask lots of questions. You will also be given information on the types of pregnancy care available to you. Refer to Pregnancy care options below for more information about pregnancy care at the Women’s.
The Women’s offers three pregnancy care options:
In hospital-based care, your care is provided by midwives and/or doctors at the Women’s. If your pregnancy is uncomplicated, you will typically have three key visits with a doctor: at your first Pregnancy Booking Clinic appointment, at 36 weeks and at 41 weeks. You will have more visits with the doctor if you need them.
With TeamCare, you will receive care from one of our pregnancy teams (Red, Blue, Green or Yellow at Parkville, or the Sandringham Hospital team). Your pregnancy team—of midwives, doctors, physiotherapists, dieticians and psychologists—will take care of you during your pregnancy, labour, birth, postnatal stay and home visit.
Caseload is when one midwife (and a back-up midwife) will take care of you during your pregnancy, labour, birth, postnatal stay and home visit. You will still be able to access other specialists at the hospital if needed, but for most visits you will see the same midwife. Caseload is available at the Women’s at Parkville but not at Sandringham. Due to its popularity, there is usually a waiting list for Caseload at the Women’s.
In shared maternity care (Shared Care), you will see the same GP, obstetrician or midwife at a community clinic for most of your pregnancy care, with some key visits at the Women’s either at Parkville or Sandringham (depending where you live). Together the hospital and your chosen community doctor or midwife will share your care. Your baby will be born at the Women’s.
Shared Care is a popular choice for women who are healthy with a normal pregnancy. You have most of your care close to your home or work and, if you are seeing a GP, you get to build a relationship with her or him that continues after the baby is born.
You may choose to stop Shared Care at any time during your pregnancy by contacting the Shared Care Coordinator. If you develop problems during your pregnancy, Shared Care may not be suitable and your care will become hospital-based.
See the Shared maternity care patient information sheets for more information. A Shared maternity accreditation and affiliates list can also be downloaded from this page.
The Women’s provides community clinics at Strathmore, Footscray and Fawkner. Each clinic has its own team of midwives and doctors from the Women’s, which allows you to have some or all your pregnancy care at your community clinic.
The advantages of a community clinic are:
- the clinic might be more convenient (closer to home)
- there is an opportunity to meet other pregnant women in the area
Some community clinics have language-specific childbirth education and parenting classes. Contact Childbirth education for more information.
Your first appointment, with the Pregnancy Booking Clinic, will happen at the hospital. Your 41 week visit, birth and postnatal (after birth) care will also be at the Women’s. Your other visits will be at the community clinic.
If you are interested in having your visits at a community clinic, ask your GP to include this on your referral and let the hospital midwife or doctor know at your first appointment at the Pregnancy Booking Clinic.