May 17, 2015

International Birth Story – Australia

Welcome back to the International Birth Stories series.  If you’re just joining us, make sure you check out the other testimonies in the series: Germany, Senegal, Spain Switzerland, Japan, England, Djibouti, Northern Ireland, Brazil This week we have Peggy, with a birth story from Australia.

International Birth Stories

Peggy gave birth in a private hospital due to insurance reasons. She says there are significant differences between private and public Australian hospitals. 

IBI - Australia

Intro: What brought you to Australia?

I had been wanting to live and work abroad for the past 4 years, and was looking for an opportunity in the UK.  Ultimately, I was offered a postdoctoral fellowship in Australia from my current supervisor and thought it was the opportunity of a lifetime, especially since the chance to live and work in the UK had fallen through just prior. It wasn’t until after all the contract and paperwork were signed that we had found out about bub, so surprise!  We had an Aussie baby! 🙂

1.)  What surprised you about prenatal care in Australia?

Nothing at all.  Prenatal care was identical to what I had received before departing the U.S.

2) What surprised you about giving birth in Australia?

It surprised me how supportive they were of natural birthing and breastfeeding right off the bat.  The midwives there were the biggest cheerleaders and had the best ideas to get you through the process.  It also surprised me that circumcision was never mentioned or offered for our son.  It’s just not done here.  Luckily we’d discussed it and decided to leave him intact before I went into labor!

International Birth Stories

3) What surprised you about post-natal care in Australia?

They definitely take care of you here.  It’s not like the drive thru birthing back in the US.  The minimum hospital stay for vaginal birth is 3 days and 5 days for a caesarian section.  The midwives were super helpful in getting bub to latch the first 48 hours. And they had classes every day on breastfeeding, handling baby, bathing baby, etc.  I felt totally prepared and confident bringing our baby home after we were released.

4) Overall impression of pregnancy/birth culture

I thought the pregnancy and birth culture was wonderful, however they can be a little preachy/pushy on natural birthing and “breast is best”-isms. Even employers are super supportive of childbirth as they’re all legally required to give 6-months paid maternity leave if you’ve been employed long enough!


Stay tuned next week for yet another installment in the International Birth Stories series!


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Iulia is a former educator turned stay-at-home mama of a spunky toddler and a squishy infant. With a touch of sass and a good dose of self-deprecating humor, she has an ever-expanding repertoire of bloopers, insights, stories, and impassioned opinions to share. Iulia likes to think she has this parenting gig figured out, but her littles remind her daily just how far from the truth that is.

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    Reply Adelaide May 18, 2015 at 4:15 am

    This was very interesting for me as I am Australian and have had two births in Aussie hospitals (with another one to come).
    With only our country in my experience I have only had how ‘we’ do it as a reference frame.
    I do agree that our system is very good to pregnant mothers and (at least where I live) support has been huge pre, during, and post birth.
    Also, it is true, we probably are very ‘natural’ minded… I didn’t realise more so than USA… but it has always suited me fine.
    Thank you for this series!
    Adelaide recently posted…What if happiness had nothing to do with it?My Profile

    Reply Stacey _ Mums Blind Love May 19, 2015 at 8:53 am

    The aftercare in Australia seems a lot better than what we get here in the UK, saying that though I think it would drive me mad having to stay in hospital for 3 days. I gave birth (instrumental delivery with spinal block) at 1:15am and was aloud home at 5:30pm that day. I couldn’t get out of the hospital fast enough as we where just left to our own devices in a ward with 5 other mums and their babies. Visiting hours didn’t start until 3pm either so was a lot of sitting around while baby was sleeping. #twinklytuesdays

    Reply Wholesome Joy May 19, 2015 at 10:36 am

    I must say that I LOVE this series! Thanks for posting it! =)

    Reply Emily May 19, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    6-months paid maternity leave? That is incredible.

    That is wonderful that they are so supportive of breastfeeding! I continue to enjoy your series. 🙂
    Emily recently posted…Why Just Survive When You Can Thrive. A Book Review.My Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby May 27, 2015 at 10:08 pm

      Emily I know…I can’t even imagine. We have to fight to make 6-12 weeks UNPAID work…much less a required 6 months PAID.

    Reply Maria May 20, 2015 at 6:14 am

    Seriously loving this series. Such an eye-opener. I would have to second Emily’s sentiments and say that 6 months of REQUIRED maternity leave is astounding! That’s incredible support for mothers in Australia and I wish there was more of the same here in the US. Thank you for this series, Iulia! Can’t wait to read more of it.
    Maria recently posted…Calm: What Makes Parents EnoughMy Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby May 27, 2015 at 10:07 pm

      Maria, I know…my jaw dropped at the “required” part. Seriously astounding! Thanks so much for reading along 🙂

    Reply Beth May 20, 2015 at 9:47 am

    Wow that is so awesome. What a positive birthing experience and all of that support is just amazing and so wonderful.

    Thanks for linking up with Tuesday Talk!

    Reply Lisa (mummascribbles) May 24, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    How interesting, it sounds like a fantastic place to give birth! Over ere in the UK, with a natural birth, you are usually out within 24 hours! I was a csection so was in for 3 days but in all honestly I couldn’t wait to get out as it’s not the place I want to be spending my time! I didn’t have a bad experience but they definitely weren’t as supportive as the descriptions in this post! Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

    • Reply Bestofbaby May 27, 2015 at 10:02 pm

      Wow, that is a very fast turnaround! On the one hand, I couldn’t wait to get home to my son, but on the other hand, I relished not having to do anything but rest and soak up my newborn!

    Reply Daffny May 28, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    I like the idea of staying in the hospital three days. I stayed at least 48 hours (if not longer.) My mom works at a hospital where they try to get them out first thing in the morning Day 2, but my doctor is very laid back and almost always comes in in the very late afternoon to start paperwork. The longer you have that support, especially for nursing, the better. Although I could live without all the constant BP checks…
    And six months maternity leave? Yeah. Clearly they understand the value of parenting as well as working in society!

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