Family Birth Centre

Pregnant lady in birthing poolThe Family Birth Centre (FBC) is a home-like maternity care facility. Care is provided by a known midwife working in a team of midwives ie. a Midwifery Group Practice (MGP).

It is located at, and is part of, King Edward Memorial Hospital (KEMH). The FBC hold an Early Pregnancy Information Session alternating Fridays from 2pm to 3pm which includes a tour of the centre and the hospital. If you have not birthed at the FBC before you will be invited to attend this once your application has been reviewed. Attendance is considered essential with this model of care. To book please see the Antenatal classes below.


Who can attend?

The FBC provides continuity of care to women deemed 'low risk'. Epidural analgesia is not offered to women birthing at the FBC and the expected discharge is 4 to 6 hours after birth. Please see the FBC's Eligibility Criteria for Clients Birthing at the Family Birth Centre (PDF) to determine your suitability.

Public patients accessing our service are covered by Medicare.

For more details on whether you are eligible call (08) 6458 1800.


What's it all about?

The philosophy of the MGP at the FBC is continuity of care from a known midwife. You will be allocated a known midwife working within a team of other midwives. Appointment times are strictly within business hours, Monday to Friday. It will be necessary to arrange time off work for these appointments. Please be aware that sometimes your midwife may need to cancel your appointment at short notice due to someone else being in labour.

Our staff are experienced registered midwives who have special expertise in supporting normal childbirth. They are skilled in recognizing complications and will refer you for a medical consultation if required.

The FBC midwives are the primary caregivers but also work in a team relationship with General Practitioners, Obstetricians and Paediatricians. All of the specialist and support services of KEMH are available if required.


Family birth Centre roomWhat facilities are there?

The FBC consists of four birth rooms:

  • comfortably furnished with double beds and easy chairs
  • individual garden courtyards
  • air conditioning you can control
  • en-suite shower and toilet.

It also includes a shared:

  • bathroom with a large bath for water births.



Some of the advantages families can enjoy by going home earlier include:

  • sharing the experience of a new baby in the comfort of your home
  • being able to be home together sooner in your own bed
  • being able to reduce feelings of separation from other children
  • less disruption on household routines
  • less chance of mother and baby being exposed to infection
  • more freedom to make decisions about baby's care
  • more rest in the peaceful home environment.


Before the birth

The midwives at the FBC specialize in providing support for the natural process of childbirth with very personal attention and careful assessment.

Relaxed antenatal visits will allow time for you to get acquainted with your midwife and learn about the many physical and emotional changes during pregnancy and childbirth. The midwives will also discuss changing family roles, exercise and nutrition.


Birthing bath with midwife and pregnant ladyBirth at the FBC

You should discuss your birth plan with your midwife. The entire birth experience can be as personalised and individual as you desire within the limits of safety. Any birth position that is comfortable for you is acceptable. Water for pain relief and birth is offered at the FBC. Other options include analgesic injections and “gas and air”. Epidural analgesia is not offered and would require transfer to KEMH. 

You and your support person will stay in one of the birth rooms. Your support person is encouraged to remain with you throughout the labour. An additional support person may also be very helpful.

Some families wish to have their other children present as well. If so, an adult other than the primary support person must be with the children during the entire time. If you plan to have your children present at the birth, please discuss this with your midwife.


After the birth

If there are no complications your baby will remain with you during your entire stay at the FBC. Before you go home your baby will receive a complete paediatric examination by one of the hospital's paediatric staff.

At the FBC the expected length of stay is approximately 4 hours after the birth of your baby. If you are transferred to KEMH to deliver your baby, you will be discharged when you and your baby have been checked and the doctor or midwife has decided that it is clinically safe and appropriate for you to go home. We ask that you have made suitable arrangements for going home so that you can leave soon after being formally discharged by your healthcare team.

After the birth of your baby, the midwives will help you with the care of your baby, including breastfeeding, nappy changing, baby bathing etc. Once you are discharged home, the FBC midwives or the Visiting Midwifery Service (VMS) will visit you at home for the first five days after birth . If you reside outside the catchment for the FBC or VMS your midwife will discuss plans for the postnatal period at your booking interview. It may be necessary to bring you baby back into hospital for check ups.


How do I apply for a place at the FBC?

In order to apply you must complete BOTH the Family Birth Centre Application Form (Word) and Patient Registration Form (PDF), and return via email or post to:

Family Birth Centre
KEMH, 374 Bagot Road Subiaco, WA 6008


Your application will not be assessed until the following ere received:

Please note your application will be assessed based on our postcode catchment and should you reside outside the catchment your referral will be referred directly to the Community Midwifery Program for allocation to birth at the FBC.


Pregnant lady in birthing poolWhat happens next?

Your application will be processed within 3 weeks. If you apply earlier than 8 weeks your application will be placed in a queue and processed after 8 weeks. 

Once you have been offered a place at the FBC your midwife will make contact with you at 13 to 15 weeks to arrange your booking interview. During this phone contact your midwife will undertake a brief eligibility questionnaire. This forms the first part of our assessment in determining your suitability for care with the FBC. If you have not heard from your midwife by 15 weeks of pregnancy please call.

This initial booking interview may take up to 1.5 hours. Your midwife will take a complete history from you and after reviewing this, will confirm if you meet the criteria for care with the FBC. If you have a history that excludes you from care with the FBC, your midwife will help you decide on the best option and refer you onto another health care provider.


Can I change my midwife?

The Family Birth Centre are proud to offer women continuity of care from a known midwife. You will be allocated a primary midwife who works in a team of other midwives. We trust that you and your midwife will develop a positive and supportive partnership over the course of your pregnancy. If, however, your relationship with your midwife becomes strained at any time, we encourage you to discuss your concerns with your midwife so that he or she can better support you. The Midwifery Manager is able to help you navigate this discussion. It is important that any issues are resolved because requests to change your midwife cannot be accommodated. This policy is in place is to ensure the smooth running of the service and to avoid disruption to other patients.


Antenatal classes (online)

Bookings for classes are essential, please book in early to avoid disappointment. Your partner or support person is welcome to attend with you.

Book a course or workshop

Childbirth and parenting courses

The FBC offers a four-part parent education series run online, every month. Classes are free for all Medicare card holders who are booked with our service. We recommend attending classes from approximately 32 weeks' gestation.

Classes available

  • Early Pregnancy Education and FBC Tour
  • Class 1: Active labour
  • Class 2: Birth of your baby and placenta
  • Class 3: Breastfeeding for you
  • Class 4: Early parenting and post-birth recovery

Course topics

  • Increase knowledge of labour and birth
  • Coping strategies and positions for labour and birth
  • When to call the midwife and attend the FBC
  • Medicalised birth and when it may be required
  • The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding
  • Your post-birth recovery
  • Newborn cares
  • Community services
Last Updated: 18/10/2023