Having a baby

Using this guide What's covered

Here you’ll find answers to many of your questions about having a baby.

Read tips on how to prepare and understand what to expect, what it may cost, what your recovery may be like and more.

Our animations below provide more information on vaginal and caesarean section births. For personal insights, see our patient experience videos where HCF members talk frankly about their preparation, the birth of their child and their post-natal care.

Cost indicator

Discover the typical out-of-pocket costs HCF members can expect to pay for childbirth, and learn how your choice of doctor and hospital affect that cost.


Vaginal birth costs Caesarean birth costs

Learn about vaginal birth

This short animation shows the 3 stages of labour in a vaginal delivery.

Learn about Caesarean birth

This animation explains when a caesarean delivery may be the best, or only, option and shows how your baby and placenta are delivered through an incision in your abdominal wall.

The basics

Having a baby

In Australia, vaginal deliveries are the most common. A vaginal birth may be straightforward, or may be helped with interventions such as episiotomy (surgical cut to the perineum – the skin and muscle between the vagina and anus), forceps or vacuum extraction (a soft or rigid cup with a handle and a vacuum pump which is gently put on your baby’s head).

More than 30% of Australian births are by caesarean section. Your obstetrician might recommend a planned caesarean birth if they think you could have problems with a vaginal birth. An emergency caesarean may be carried out due to pregnancy complications or if labour doesn't go as expected.

The details

Preparing for childbirth

Choosing an obstetrician

How to find an obstetrician.
Learn more

Questions for your doctor

What you should be asking your obstetrician.
Learn more

Your antenatal care

How to prepare and when to go to hospital.
Learn more

Vaginal or caesarean delivery?

The benefits and risks of both types of delivery.
Learn more

Delivery and aftercare

Vaginal delivery: what happens?

What to expect at each stage.
Learn more

Vaginal delivery: afterwards

Your hospital stay and postnatal care.
Learn more

Caesarean delivery: your procedure

Going to hospital and having surgery.
Learn more

Caesarean delivery: afterwards

Your hospital stay and postnatal care.
Learn more

Patient experiences

HCF members talk about their expectations, the birth of their babies and the importance of post-natal support. 

View videos


From pre-pregnancy planning, to birth and caring for your newborn – here’s what you need to know.


Becoming a parent can be both the greatest and hardest thing you’ll experience. Listen to parents share their real stories – the joys and stress, the advice and insight in our new podcast.

Give us feedback

Did you find this guide helpful? Let us know what you liked or what we can do to improve it. We'd love to hear from you.

To provide feedback, email us at wellbeing@hcf.com.au.

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Important information

Information is provided by HCF in good faith for the convenience of members. It is not an endorsement or recommendation of any form of treatment nor is it a substitute for medical advice, and you should rely on the advice of your treating doctors in relation to all matters concerning your health. Every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, however HCF takes no responsibility for any injury, loss, damage or other consequences of the use of this information.