Relocating to Australia and moving away from home can be unsettling at any time. But when you are expecting a baby, a whole new set of worries present themselves. As your body changes and your tummy grows, so do your fears. Many women feel more vulnerable at this time. It is quite natural to dwell on labour, giving birth, and how you will cope with a newborn baby.
Rest assured! Australia has some of the finest healthcare in the world. You and your little one are going to be in extremely safe hands. It is also one of the world’s top countries in terms of quality of life. However, there are a few things you should know if you are relocating to Australia during pregnancy.
Relocating to Australia – Traveling When You Are Pregnant
First things first: traveling. Some airlines will not let you travel after your 36th week of pregnancy, or 32 weeks if you are expecting twins. You may need a letter from your doctor or midwife if you are more than 28 weeks along in your pregnancy. The best thing to do is to check with the airline with which you are flying. Different airlines have different guidelines.
Relocating to Australia – Australia’s Healthcare System
Ante-natal care (care when you are pregnant) and the delivery of your baby, are probably pretty near the top of your list of concerns right now. So, let’s take a look at what you can expect in terms of healthcare when you relocate to Australia.
Australia’s healthcare system is called Medicare. It is a publicly funded system that is designed to provide heavily subsidised costs for Australian citizens. What that means is that Australian taxpayers contribute a percent of their income to Medicare and then they are usually covered if they have to go into the hospital. If they have to see a doctor, they are covered for about three-quarters of their costs. The shortfall is usually taken care of by an insurance policy. Australians can opt instead for private healthcare and their premiums are subsidised by the state. So, that’s all well and good if you qualify for Medicare, but what if you do not?
Medicare for Pregnant Mums in Australia
To be eligible for Medicare, you must be an Australian citizen, or be in the process of applying for permanent residency status. The Australian Government Department of Human Services has more information on this.
When you are pregnant and having a baby, you will likely need hospital care, tests, and ultrasound scans. You may need a paediatrician and other health care professionals to take care of you and your baby. Most of the costs will be covered by Medicare, as long as you are eligible. At the time of writing this, an Australian Parenting Website estimates the cost of birth at a public hospital to be between $0 to $1500 if you have a Medicare card. This depends on your circumstances; you will probably not have to pay much at all.
Private Health Care if You Do Not Qualify for Medicare
If you do not have a Medicare card, you will need to pay for your ante-natal care and the birth of your baby privately. That means, pay for it yourself. The costs are likely to be much, much more. At the time of writing, an Australian Mum’s website estimates that just the obstetricians fee alone to be between $2,000 and $10,000. That sum doesn’t include ante-natal appointments, tests, and screenings. It is, therefore, essential that you have private health insurance in place BEFORE you become pregnant. Otherwise, you will have to pay the costs yourself.
Other Worries and Concerns When You Are Pregnant
It’s not just the cost of having a baby that might be troubling you, however. Perhaps you are concerned about the language barrier, cultural barriers, male doctors, or about leaving friends and your family. Well, it is entirely natural to be concerned at this time; you are going to be a Mum and have a whole new person to take care of! You might find reading online expat forums is a help. Talking to someone, doing your research, and planning ahead; these are the best things you can do right now.
Relocating to Australia means an exciting time ahead for you, your baby, and your new family. Try not to worry, family life in Australia promises great things! Expect plenty of sunshine, beautiful beaches, large backyards and swimming pools, relaxed outdoor living, and fantastic wildlife. We think you are going to love it!