The Australian Government recognises the importance of providing national coordination and leadership for maternity services to improve outcomes for mothers, babies, and their families. In Australia, the planning and delivery of maternity and child health services is a state and territory responsibility. The role of the Australian Government involves guiding policy collaboration that supports action at the state and territory level.
This webpage provides information on the policy work that underpins Australia’s maternity services and information on Australian Government maternity services. This includes programs and services for pregnant women, those planning pregnancy, their partners, families and health care professionals.
For information on maternity services within your state or territory please refer to your state or territory health service.
National Strategic Approach to Maternity Services
At the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council meeting on 22 September 2017 it was agreed to start a new process to develop a National Strategic Approach to Maternity Services (NSAMS). Members agreed that the work would be led by the Commonwealth and include all jurisdictions in a time limited Project Reference Group (PRG). An Advisory Group (AG) has also been established to provide advice to the PRG.
Project Reference Group - Communique 1 (PDF 308 KB)
Project Reference Group - Communique 1 (Word 17 KB)
Advisory Group - Communique 1 (PDF 234 KB)
Advisory Group - Communique 1 (Word 22 KB)
National Maternity Services Plan
The National Maternity Services Plan provided a strategic framework to guide policy and program development over five years from 2010 to 2015, but was subsequently extended for a further year until 30 June 2016 to enable work to continue on uncompleted actions. It identified actions under four priority areas (Access, Service Delivery, Workforce and Infrastructure) to improve women’s access to maternity services and service delivery.
National Maternity Services Plan documentation, including the original National Maternity Services Plan 2010, the annual reports and other policy documents, can be found on the Maternity Services Publications page.
Pregnancy Care Guidelines
Click here to access the Clinical Practice Guidelines - Pregnancy Care Guidelines (Pregnancy Care Guidelines), formerly known as the Clinical Practice Guidelines – Antenatal Care (Antenatal Care Guidelines).
National Perinatal Data Collection
Since 2011, the Australian Government has funded the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) to develop a nationally consistent and comprehensive maternal and perinatal mortality and morbidity data collection in Australia. An overview of Australian national and jurisdictional data collections relevant to maternal and perinatal health can be found at the Maternity Information Matrix.
The AIHW reports key statistics and trends on pregnancy and childbirth of mothers, and the characteristics and outcomes of their babies. The AIHW is also responsible for the national reporting of maternal and perinatal mortality, and it is the designated Australian WHO focal point for maternal mortality. Maternal and perinatal data publications can be accessed from the AIHW website.
Pregnancy, Birth and Baby website and helpline
The Australian Government funds Pregnancy, Birth and Baby, a free 24 hour, 7 days a week national helpline, video and website service providing access to information, support and counselling for women, partners and their families in relation to pregnancy, birth and the first 5 years of a baby’s life. Call 1800 882 4361 or visit their website.
Women and their families who are facing other challenges, such as emotional distress, perinatal issues, and questions about pregnancy options, can also call the Pregnancy, Birth and Baby helpline to be transferred to qualified counsellors. Counsellors are available from 7am to 12pm midnight daily, free of charge, to offer non-judgmental, confidential support.
The Pregnancy, Birth and Baby helpline is available to all Australians, including people living in rural and remote areas. People with a disability and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds can access the helpline through the National Relay Service and the Translating and Interpreting Service.
Callers experiencing perinatal depression or grief following miscarriage or stillbirth or the loss of a baby may be referred to targeted telephone-based peer support services, including SIDS and Kids, Post and Antenatal Depression Association (PANDA) and Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Support (SANDS) Australia.
Medicare information for midwivesLink to Medicare information page for midwives and nurse practitioners
You can get to this page using the short URL