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Having a Baby

Having a Baby

2023-03-20 10:08:50

Congratulations! Mount Isa Hospital is a great place to have a baby.

We are committed to providing you and your family with the highest level of care to ensure your safety and comfort. We are here to guide you through your options throughout your pregnancy and birth and support you during this exciting time.

There are several options in Mount Isa for pregnancy care.

If you don't have a GP, you don't need to see one to access care options. 

Option 1: Antenatal Care

Obstetric care by a hospital doctor is available. 

Option 2: Midwifery Care - Midwifery Group Practice

The Midwifery Group Practice (MGP) is a free service offered by North West HHS. MGP is maternity care where women are supported by a known midwife who works with one or more backup midwives throughout their pregnancy, labour, birth and for 6 weeks after the birth of their baby.

MGP midwives work in partnership with the woman and family to provide individualised care. Appointments may be held in the home, MGP clinic or hospital. Most of the pregnancy and post birth visits will be with the primary midwife. The midwife works in a small group, and women can meet these midwives during the pregnancy so that they know them if back up is required (eg when the primary midwife is on leave or not on call when labour begins). 

MGP midwives work closely with the Mount Isa Hospital obstetricians and other health care professionals, allowing the team to care for pregnant women regardless of their pregnancy risk or the complexity of their care.

Following the birth of your baby, regardless of which option of care you choose, your GP and Child Youth and Family Health Service can provide ongoing support.

You can self-refer to the MGP program and don’t need a doctor's referral.

Please complete the online referral if you would like to join the Midwifery Group Practice and you will be contacted by the team for a meeting.

Online Referral Form

You can contact the MGP service on 07 4764 0880 if you would like to discuss further.

Option 3: Midwifery Care - Hospital Midwife

You can choose to be supported by the hospital midwives. This may be a different midwife at your appointments. 

Option 4: Private Care

If you have Private Health Insurance, you can choose to have private care with one of the obstetricians at the hospital.

Outreach Midwifery Care

Healthy Picaninnes MGP Outreach Program

Picaninnes is a free service for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman who are pregnant or having a baby in the North West. This service is an all-risk outreach midwifery service.

Antenatal and postnatal care is provided by the outreach MGP midwife and health worker in the woman’s community in Mornington Island and Doomadgee. They may birth in Mount Isa Hospital or elsewhere. Women travel to and stay in Mount Isa for antenatal investigations and obstetric review and relocate to Mount Isa from 36 weeks gestation until approximately two weeks after their birth. Postnatal inpatient stay is available at Mount Isa Hospital prior to the woman returning to her home for postnatal follow up by the HP outreach midwife.

Travel and accommodation is arranged by the health service.

The Cloncurry Outreach Program

Women who live in Cloncurry, Julia Creek and McKinlay are eligible for outreach MGP care. Antenatal and postnatal care is provided by the same midwife, located in Cloncurry. All women who live in this geographical area are eligible for this service. Women may birth at Mount Isa Hospital or elsewhere.

Women are encouraged to relocate to near their birthing hospital at 36 weeks pregnant. Travel and accommodation is arranged by the health service. Woman may have midwifery care provided by the Mount Isa MGP midwives or core staff when they are at Mount Isa Hospital.

Postnatal inpatient stay is available prior to the woman returning to her home for postnatal follow up by the Cloncurry outreach midwife.

Following the birth of your baby, regardless of which option of care you chose, your GP and Maternal, Child and Family Health services can provide ongoing support.

All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman who are pregnant or having a baby in the North West have access to Indigenous Liaison Officer and Indigenous Health Workers support.

MGP midwives offer antenatal birth preparation and postnatal classes.

How to get started on your pregnancy journey with us

What do I do next?

Mount Isa Hospital offers quality women and family centred care for both public and private patients. We welcome around 480 babies each year. Our region covers from the north to Mornington Island, south to Dajarra, east to Julia Creek, and west to Lake Nash (Northern Territory).

Our maternity unit has; 

  • 3 birthing suites and assessment room
  • an 8-bed antenatal / postnatal ward
  • Special Care Nursery for babies born early or needing extra care

Your GP can refer you to our maternity service or you can self-refer by presenting to the Maternity Unit  Monday to Friday, 7.30am - 3.00pm. 

If you are interested in Midwifery Group Practice you can self-refer by phoning 4764 0880 or fill in the online form below.

Online Referral Form

Once referred, you will be contacted by a midwife who will arrange a booking-in appointment with you. If possible we like this visit to be between 10-12 weeks of your pregnancy.


The booking -in appointment happens for every pregnant woman no matter what care option you choose. This an opportunity to obtain relevant history from you that may impact your pregnancy. It is also an opportunity to discuss what occurs at your antenatal visits including blood tests and ultrasounds.

Antenatal midwifery appointments (not MGP) are offered on Wednesdays and Fridays. We have two doctor clinics each week.

Tuesday is the High-Risk Clinic for all women that have pregnancy complications, including those in MGP. Diabetes educators and dietitians are also available at this clinic.

Thursday is the Low-Risk Clinic for all women, including those in MGP.

Social work and mental health support is available for women as needed. 

Other helpful information

Online referral for Midwifery Group Practice (MGP)

Please complete the online referral if you would like to join the Midwifery Group Practice and you will be contacted by the team for a meeting.

Online Referral Form

Care after birth

What to bring to hospital when you’re having a baby

Maternity patients should bring the following items with them when coming to hospital:

For baby:

  • two - three growsuits or clothes for baby to wear in hospital
  • one set of clothes for baby to go home in
  • two - three bunny rugs
  • one packet of baby wipes
  • one bottle of bathing solution/ soap for baby
  • one packet of disposable nappies (enough nappies for two - three days)
  • formula and bottles for parents choosing to bottle feed their baby. Sterilising equipment is available.

For you:

  • nightwear
  • casual clothes for daywear
  • underwear, footwear and toiletries for the mother
  • four packets of maternity sanitary pads (these are not supplied by the hospital)

Maternity Wards

Women who are transferred to the maternity ward following birth will have their baby with them, in a cot next to your bed, for the duration of your stay.

While you are in hospital, our midwives will support you in learning to care for your baby including bathing and changing a nappy. All of our midwives can assist with breastfeeding.

All babies will have a discharge check before leaving hospital.

Newborn screening – ‘Heel-prick test’

Newborn screening is a simple blood test that helps to identify rare but serious conditions. The test is done within three days after your baby’s birth, before symptoms are obvious. This is so treatment can start before a condition causes problems. The midwife will warm your baby’s heel (usually using your hand or a blanket). The midwife will prick your baby’s heel and collect a few drops of blood on special filter paper. The filter paper is dried, then sent to a laboratory where your baby’s blood is tested for different conditions. If you’re discharged from hospital early, your local child and family health nurse or midwife can collect your baby’s blood sample at your home.

Newborn screening can pick up signs of more than 25 rare conditions. These conditions might not be obvious before babies are born. Newborn screening doesn’t tell you whether your baby definitely has a particular condition. It tells you that your baby is at increased risk for a condition.

You’ll be offered newborn screening in the first 48-72 hours after your baby’s birth. You don’t have to pay for newborn screening.

Hepatitis B vaccination

The National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia recommends that all Australian babies are vaccinated against Hepatitis B. The first vaccination is offered before you leave hospital with your baby. A further three doses are given from two months of age onward, using combination vaccines when other vaccines are due. The four doses are recommended to provide long-term protection against the disease.

You will be given an information sheet about Hepatitis B and if you would like your baby to have this vaccination, you will need to sign a consent form. Please ask your midwife or doctor if you have any questions.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is necessary to help blood clot and is essential to prevent serious bleeding. There is a rare disease called Haemorrhagic disease of the newborn which can be prevented by giving babies a dose of Vitamin K at birth. The most common way to give this is by one injection soon after birth. It may also be given orally but three doses are required to give protection as Vitamin K is not well absorbed orally.

World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations are that all babies receive Vitamin K as this is a very simple way to prevent this rare disorder. You will receive information about Vitamin K throughout your pregnancy or, for further information, visit the Queensland Health website.

Universal Newborn Hearing Screening

The Health Hearing program aims to identify babies born with a permanent hearing loss. It is free and available to all babies born in Queensland who are Medicare eligible. A hearing screen does not hurt your baby. A trained health professional will place several small pads gently on your baby’s head and a soft earphone with be lightly placed over each ear. Soft clicking sounds are then played into your baby’s ear. The pads will record your baby’s responses to the sounds. For more information visit Children’s Health Queensland.

Special Care Nursery

The Mount Isa Special Care Nursery care for sick and preterm babies 32-weeks gestation and later. If your baby is younger than 32 weeks, or too sick to be cared for in Mount Isa, they will be transferred to Townsville University Hospital. If your baby requires a transfer, they will be taken in a plane. In most circumstances mum will be encouraged to go with the baby. However, if mum isn’t well enough to travel or is unable to go another family member or caregiver may go instead. When your baby is well enough, they will be transferred back to us for ongoing care and to prepare to go home with you.

How long will my baby need to stay in the nursery?

This is very dependent on your baby. Each baby is different and will be assessed by the doctors, nurses and midwives caring for them. If your baby is born premature, you can usually expect to have your baby home by the time they reach your original due date—if not a little bit earlier.

We understand that it can be a frightening experience to have your baby in the special care nursery. Please feel free to ask the staff caring for your baby any questions. If your baby is born premature or sick, they may need to stay in hospital longer than you, but you are encouraged to visit your baby as often as you can.

Visiting your baby in the nursery

Parents are encouraged to come to the nursery at any time to be with their baby. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic other visitors, such as grandparents and siblings of the baby are restricted.

Keeping our babies safe

Coughs, colds and tummy bugs can make our babies very sick, because of this we ask:

  • Everyone must wash their hands when they come to the unit
  • If you are unwell, please call before you visit. We may ask you to stay home or wear a mask inside the nursery.
National Safer Baby Bundle Program

We support the National Safer Baby Bundle Program which list 5 ways to improve outcomes for babies. These are:

Quit 4 Baby
Quitting smoking as early as possible means a better start in life for your baby. Free help including nicotine replacement therapy is available.

Growing Matters
Having regular appointments during pregnancy to check your baby’s growth is important.

Movements Matter
It is important for you to get to know the pattern of your baby’s movements. If you are concerned particularly from 28 weeks contact your midwife or the Maternity ward immediately. Do not wait for your next check-up.

Sleep On Side
Going to sleep on your side from 28 weeks of pregnancy can reduce your risk of stillbirth. Either side is equally safe.

Let's Talk Timing
The aim is to make every pregnancy and birth as safe as possible. Discuss with your maternity carer if you have any risks that may influence the timing of birth.

Other screening will be offered related to alcohol,drug use and mental health with support and referrals available for you.

Note: If you have tested positive to COVID-19 through a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) at home, please notify the Maternity Ward on 4744 4496, to ensure that follow ups continue through the virtual antenatal clinic.