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Pregnancy—having your baby at Mater Mothers' Hospital

Welcome to Mater Mothers' Hospital

Mater Mothers’ Hospital has been providing exceptional care for mothers and babies for 50 years. We understand that preparing for the birth of your baby can make you feel excited, anxious, overjoyed—in fact a whole range of emotions. We have prepared the information in this book to answer some of your questions and to help you feel comfortable about coming to hospital for your baby’s birth.

Please take your time to read the enclosed information carefully.

All enquiries 07 3163 1918

Warning signs in pregnancy

If you experience or notice any of the following symptoms from 20 weeks of pregnancy it is important to come into the regnancy Assessment Centre immediately:

  • Vaginal bleeding.
  • Your baby is moving less than usual.
  • Your waters break.
  • Period like pain in your lower tummy that comes and goes regularly.
  • Any change in colour or odour of vaginal discharge.
  • Abdominal cramps with or without diarrhoea.
  • Lower backache.
  • Dizziness or blurred vision, particularly if accompanied by headaches.

Visiting hours: 10 am to 1 pm and 3 pm to 8 pm daily. To ensure that you and your baby receive adequate rest, visitors, except for your partner or support person, will not be admitted outside these times.

Telephone calls will be diverted to ward reception between 1 pm and 3 pm.

Where to go for admission

Mater Mothers' Hospital's main entrance is located on level 5. You will need to go through the security boom gate on Raymond Terrace to access the hospital. Your partner or support person may park in the designated set down/pick up area at the front to the building for a period of five minutes.

Please go to main reception, where you will be directed to the Pregnancy Assessment and Observation Unit or Birth Suite, both located on level 5.

If you are in strong labour and unable to move from the car, please remain in the car and ask your partner or support person to go to main reception and request immediate assistance.

After hours admissions

The security boom gates are unattended between 8.30 pm and 6 am but there is an intercom to enable you to contact security, who will remotely operate the boom gate. The front doors of the hospital will also be electronically locked between 8.30 pm and 6 am. There is an intercom at the front door that can be used to contact reception—main reception is staffed 24 hours a day.


Parking is available in Mater’s Hancock Street Car Park and Mater Hill car parks. These multi-level car parks are automated, which means patrons are required to pre-pay for parking prior to exiting. For your convenience, several pay stations are positioned at prominent locations in all four car parks.

Please note: Hancock Street Car Park uses a ‘Smart Card’ ticketing system. These cards may only be used at Hancock Street Car Park. In addition to being able to pay for parking at pay stations located in the lift lobbies prior to exit, if you park within Hancock Street Car Park and wish to use a credit card, you may pay for parking at the exit stations as you leave the car park.

Weekly parking ticket options

There are three options available to you:

  1. A five day ticket—for five consecutive days, with multi-entry and exits in the one day.
  2. A three day ticket—for three consecutive days, with multi-entry and exits in the one day.
  3. A five exit ticket—valid for five single exits, for up to two months.

You can purchase a weekly parking ticket from the service centres in two locations—Level 1, Hancock Street Car Park for use in Hancock Street Car Park only and Level 4, Mater Hill West Car Park for use in Mater Hill and the Mater Medical Centre car parks.

The service centre hours of operation are as follows:

  • Hancock Street Car Park: 7.30 am to 9.30 pm Monday to Friday; 8 am to 9 pm on weekends.
  • Mater Hill car parks: 6.30 am to 9.30 pm Monday to Friday; 8 am to 9 pm on weekends.
  • Please note: the service centres may be unattended between 6.30 pm and closing but the car park attendants are still available to help you. Please use the call button at the service centre to call for assistance. On public holidays please check the hours of operation sign for each service centre.

Antenatal education

Mater Mothers’ Hospital offers a range of education programs to inform and empower you as you approach the birth of your baby, and the early weeks that follow.

Our Birthing and Babies classes are facilitated by midwives, physiotherapists and dieticians who are skilled in childbirth education and women’s health. These classes also provide you with the opportunity to meet some of the other women you may see on the postnatal ward after the birth of your baby.

As our Birthing and Babies’ antenatal classes are very popular it is important to book as early as possible to avoid any disappointment.

For further information please contact our Bookings Officer on 07 3163 8847 or visit Maternity Care at Mater.

What to bring to hospital

We suggest the following items be brought with you at the time you are admitted to hospital for the birth of your baby—please label all your personal belongings. Please note: large suitcases may need to be taken home for the duration of your stay as storage is limited and these large items may be a hazard in an emergency situation.

For you

  • Comfortable clothes for labour
  • Personal toiletries
  • Casual comfortable day wear
  • Sleepwear, dressing gown and slippers
  • Underwear—seven to10 pairs
  • Maternity bras—three or four
  • Nursing pads
  • Maternity or super size sanitary pads—two packs
  • Tissues
  • This booklet

For your baby

  • Small beanie or hat—for use immediately after birth
  • Five warm outfits
  • Five singlets
  • Five blankets
  • One large packet of baby wipes
  • One packet of newborn disposable nappies—no cloth nappies please

For labour

  • Camera
  • Favourite music
  • Massage oil
  • Swimwear for your partner to wear in the shower
  • Socks for cold feet
  • Hair tie for long hair

Cameras may be used in birth suite at the discretion of the medical and midwifery staff involved in the birth of your baby. Please respect the privacy of staff by asking permission first. Video images are not permitted

Please do not bring any large sums of money or valuable items.

Birth plans

Many couples wish to develop and share their plan for labour and birth with their maternity team. We would encourage you to consider your preferences for this special time and to review these with your midwife prior to going into labour so that any details which might incur risk to you or your baby can be fully discussed before labour begins. Because labour and birth involve so many variables, it is not possible to predict exactly what will happen and you should be reassured
that Mater’s team are committed to providing the best care which is safe for both you and your baby. Sometimes, in emergency situations this may mean your preferences may not be able to be followed exactly. Wherever possible we would endeavour to discuss the reasons for this with you to facilitate informed consent and your understanding of events.

Our maternity facilities

Antenatal clinic

Mater Mothers’ Hospital’s antenatal clinic is located on level 7. The clinic promotes continuity of care throughout your pregnancy. Therefore, our aim is for you to see the same midwife, doctor or other health professionals, as required, at your appointments.

Birth Suite

Mater’s well-appointed and spacious birthing rooms, located on level 5, provide a comfortable and safe atmosphere for the birth of your baby. Each birthing room is self-contained with a television, telephone and CD player, with the majority of medical equipment discreetly concealed. Baths are available for warm water immersion during labour in most birthing rooms.

Your midwife will help you achieve your individual birth plan and make the most of pain relief options, if required. Midwives and doctors work collaboratively to ensure that you, and your baby, receive exceptional care.

Your support person may accompany you into the birthing room during labour and the birth of your baby. We support children being present during labour and birth. If a child is to attend the birth, please prepare them for this special occasion—what they might expect to see, hear and experience. Also, arrange for someone other than your support person to look after your child during the birth should they, perhaps, need to leave the room.

A virtual tour of our birthing rooms can be located at maternity.mater.org.au

Operating suite

If you have a caesarean birth with a spinal or epidural anaesthetic, we welcome one support person into the operating suite. If you are having a caesarean birth with a general anaesthetic your support person is not permitted in the operating suite. Children are not permitted in the operating suite.

Skin to skin contact with your baby is encouraged as soon as possible after a
caesarean birth and is facilitated by a midwife to assist you; both in the operating
suite and the recovery room.

Your postnatal room

After the birth of your baby you will be transferred to our postnatal ward. Each double room is designed to ensure your stay is comfortable and includes an ensuite bathroom, baby bathing facilities, telephone, television and refrigerator.


All of the meals at Mater Mothers’ Private Brisbane are specially designed and prepared by our chefs and dietitians onsite each day to ensure optimal health and wellbeing during your stay.

To order a meal, simply phone our Hotel Services team between 8 am and 6 pm. Your meals will be delivered to your room during the standard meal times. If you have not been able to place your order within two hours of the next meal time, we will phone you.

Partner meals may also be purchased from the menu.

With the ability to place your meal order by phone and at your convenience, phone meal ordering reduces the number of interruptions during your time with us and gives you more time to spend with your baby.

Your baby’s birth

Supporting breastfeeding with skin to skin contact

Ask to have skin to skin contact with your baby as soon as possible after birth. Your baby should have warmed blankets placed over their back and a hat placed on their head. The rest of your baby should be in direct contact with your skin. This will help them to stabilise their temperature and start to initiate an instinctive feeding response that will enhance bonding and breastfeeding establishment. Your baby’s instinctual responses to breastfeed are heightened in the first two hours after birth. Skin to skin contact during this time increases those responses and the likelihood that your baby will attach and feed well at the breast. It will also help to stop some of the shaking you may experience directly after birth.

Baby identification

Your baby will have two identification tags attached around each ankle immediately following birth. Please be aware that these must remain on your baby while you are both in our care. If either of these tags falls off at any time please let your midwife or nurse know without delay.

Medications for your baby

Vitamin K and Hepatitis B are both offered, by injection, to all babies soon after birth. For further information about either of these injections please speak to your midwife or doctor. You will be asked to provide your consent prior to these being given to your baby.

Postnatal care

The midwives and nurses caring for you will explain what you can expect in the first few days after your baby’s birth; what you may experience physically and emotionally and how to care for your baby.

You will be encouraged to take an active role in caring for your new baby with assistance from your midwife and nurse. You will be offered support; education and information on a range of topics to provide you and your partner with the knowledge, strategies and confidence that are essential when taking your new baby home.


Mater Mothers’ Hospital practices rooming-in. This allows mothers and babies to remain together 24 hours a day. Rooming-in helps mothers bond with their babies and gain confidence in their care. Research shows that mothers actually get more sleep when rooming-in with their baby.

A mother who is rooming-in is able to attend to her baby when feeding cues are displayed, helping her establish a good milk flow by promoting milk let-down. This means you are less likely to have hard sore breasts, your milk supply will become established, and breastfeeding will get off to a good start. You also make antibodies from your own body and environment that you pass on to your baby through your breast milk. This means your baby is at less risk of infection in the first few days when they are not separated from you and remain in close contact.

Feeding your baby

The evidence available indicates that breastfeeding has a range of health benefits for infants, children and mothers. Most women, when given accurate information and education with adequate support and encouragement, can achieve successful lactation and breastfeeding.

The experienced midwives caring for you and your baby, in each postnatal ward, are able to provide you with breastfeeding information, assistance and support. If you, or your baby, have a complex breastfeeding problem your midwife or doctor may refer you to Mater Mothers’ Breastfeeding Support Service. This specialist service is run by qualified lactation consultants who are experienced in caring for newborn, preterm and special needs babies.

Mater Mothers’ Hospital endorses the World Health Organization’s recommendation that breastfeeding is the best source of nourishment for newborn infants. However, we respect your right to choose how you feed your baby, and will support your decision with guidance and advice. If you have chosen to bottle feed your baby, please bring with you one tin of newborn formula, bottles, teats, a soft bottle brush and an airtight container for storage.

Safe sleeping for your baby

To provide a safe sleeping environment for your baby, the following guidelines are recommended:

  • Sleep baby on their back from birth, not on tummy or side.
  • Sleep baby with head and face uncovered.
  • Keep baby smoke free before birth and after
  • Provide a safe sleeping environment.
  • Sleep baby in their own safe sleeping place in the same room as an adult care-giver for the first six to twelve months
  • Breastfeed baby

Safe sleeping. SIDS and Kids, May 2012.

It is important to ensure that anybody who cares for your baby uses the safe sleeping guidelines when settling your baby to sleep. For additional information about safe sleeping please refer to Safe sleeping. SIDS and Kids, May 2012.

How long will I stay in hospital?

It is important to plan for your discharge as early as possible after the birth of your baby to ensure all the necessary arrangements for your post-hospital care and transport home are made.

Most women, who are medically fit and eligible for midwifery home visits, can be discharged as early as six hours following an uncomplicated vaginal birth and as early as 48 hours following an uncomplicated caesarean birth, as it is well recognised that women are able to rest and recuperate more effectively in the comfort and privacy of their own home.

Those women who have a complicated birth and/or are not eligible for homecare are usually medically ready to go home between 48 and 72 hours following a vaginal birth and between 72 and 96 hours following a caesarean birth.

A doctor or midwife will check the wellbeing of you and your baby before you both leave the hospital.

Preparing for going home

To ensure that you are prepared for going home with your new baby, you will be provided with:

  • education about how to care for yourself and your baby
  • information on planning your postnatal appointments with your GP
  • information about Mater’s universal postnatal follow-up (see below)
  • details of the community resources available to you i.e. Child Health Clinics and Mater Mothers’ Hospital’s Breastfeeding Support Service.

Please note: this information can also be located on Mater Mothers' Hospital's Patient Information Brochure website.

Discharge time

The discharge time from Mater Mothers’ Hospital is 10 am each day. Please ensure that you have prearranged for someone to be able to collect you at 10 am on your anticipated day of discharge. If you perceive any problems with these requirements, please inform your midwife as early as possible so that other arrangements may be made.

When travelling in a car, Queensland legislation requires that all children from birth to seven years are placed in an approved age-appropriate child restraint that is installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Please ensure that your baby’s restraint has been fitted prior to discharge and that you are familiar with using it correctly.

For further information on child restraint laws please see Mater's Child safety restraints brochure.

Maternity homecare program

Mater's maternity homecare program allows you to begin your family life in the comfortable, familiar and private surroundings of your home while being supported and educated by specifically trained visiting midwives. This program is available to women who go home within 72 hours following a vaginal birth, or within 96 hours following a caesarean birth.

You can choose to take part in this program at any stage of your pregnancy—talk to your midwife about this program and she will advise whether you live in the designated homecare area.

Universal postnatal follow-up

Mater Mothers' Hospital offers follow up contact to all women who birthed their baby at Mater:

  • If you live within the homecare area but stay in hospital longer than the criteria specified for homecare, a midwife will contact you by phone to arrange a visit after day seven.
  • If you live outside the homecare area you will be contacted, by phone, after day seven.

Additional services

Allied health care

While you are in hospital your midwife or doctor may recommend that you be seen by another health practitioner to assess whether you need special assistance with your recovery after the birth of your baby. Allied health professionals may include physiotherapists, nutritionists, pharmacists, occupational therapists and speech pathologists

Breastfeeding Support Service

When learning to breastfeed, like any new skill, you and your baby may require some help along the way. Mater Mothers’ Breastfeeding Support Service is here to support you throughout your breastfeeding experience.

This is a specialist service available during your stay at Mater, as well as a support service after you return home. The service is provided by qualified lactation
consultants who are experienced in caring for newborn, preterm and special needs babies.

The service is open between 8.30 am and 3.30 pm, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).

Interpreter, cultural liaison and other communication services

Mater acknowledges that different cultures respond in different ways to illness and hospital stays. To support you, a number of services are available. Please ask a midwife or administration officer to arrange a visit if:

  • you need a language interpreter or help with communication
  • you would like to speak to Mater’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health Liaison Officer
  • you would like to contact Mater’s Vietnamese Health Liaison Officer.

Mater Centre for Maternal Fetal Medicine

If either you or your baby have existing or potential or high risk medical concerns, your obstetrician may refer you to the Mater Centre for Maternal Fetal Medicine. Mater’s specialist maternal fetal medicine team uses state-of-the-art ultrasound technology to assess your baby’s condition in the uterus. Certain conditions can be diagnosed and appropriate treatment can be offered which may improve the outcome for your baby. Pre-pregnancy counselling is always provided for high-risk women.

The Mater Centre for Maternal Fetal Medicine conducts antenatal screening such as ultrasound screening, and diagnostic tests including Amniocentesis and Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS), upon referral from your doctor. If you would like to know more about these tests, please speak to your midwife or doctor. Please note that a fee is charged for these ultrasound examinations and

Neonatal Critical Care Unit

If your baby is born very premature, is sick or requires close observation, they will be admitted to the Neonatal Critical Care Unit where they will receive specialised medical and nursing care. This unit consists of intensive care and special care nurseries and is situated on level 6 of Mater Mothers’ Hospitals.

Throughout your baby’s stay any treatment required will be explained to you. You will be encouraged to be involved in your baby’s care wherever possible as this helps to establish and strengthen your bond with them. Your baby’s intensive care may involve private medical and allied health specialists. If so, their services will be billed to you. We recommend that during
your pregnancy, you check with your private health insurance provider about your entitlements for neonatal specialist care.

Additional facilities

Café: located on level 5 and open between 6.30 am and 6 pm Monday to Friday; and between 8 am and 5 pm on weekends and public holidays.

Chapel: located on level 5 and available for quiet reflection and prayer

Chaplains: sacraments available on request—representatives from most Christian denominations and other religions can be contacted.

Ladies Hospital Auxiliary: Mater Mother’s Ladies Hospital Auxiliary has a gift stall on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. They sell a range of hand crafted baby clothes, homemade preserves and baked goods and the money raised helps purchase vital equipment for the care of mothers and newborn babies at Mater.

Laundry: a washing machine, dryer and ironing facilities are provided on each ward for your personal laundry.

Pastoral care: pastoral care workers are available every day to offer personal, emotional and spiritual support to women and their families

Patient representative: If you wish to pass on a compliment or have concerns regarding any aspect of your care, the patient representative can be of assistance to you and your partner.

Telephones: all rooms have a telephone. Phone cards will be required for all local, long distance and mobile phone calls. Mobile phones must not be used in corridors as this may disturb other women and babies.

Television: Every room has a remote controlled television which also screens a range of educational programs.

Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: PI-CLN-430005
Last modified 16/3/2018.
Consumers were consulted in the development of this patient information.
Last consumer engagement date: 10/9/2014
For further translated health information, you can visit healthtranslations.vic.gov.au/ supported by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services that offers a range of patient information in multiple languages.
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