When I asked 100 parents from the Mamamia community who'd given birth in Australia, if they'd recommend the public or private system, I was not expecting the responses to be so incredibly even.
54 per cent advised public, while 46 per cent were in the private camp.
There's a lot of nuance in that of course, given the array of different options for pregnancy and birth care here in Australia. But what I learnt after reading through the stories of 99 women and one man is that literally no two experiences are the same, because no two parents want the same thing. The only similarity, in fact, was the desire for a healthy baby.
Watch: Questions about childbirth (answered by mums). Post continues after video.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 96 per cent of births in Australia take place in hospitals, in conventional labour wards.
If you give birth using the public hospital system, most of your costs will be covered by Medicare. On the flip side, the ABC estimates that costs through the private system can be anywhere between $2,500 and $20,000.
Also important to note is that all private health insurers and health funds in Australia have a one-year waiting period for obstetric services which means you need to pre-plan your pregnancy if you want it to be covered.
Within the two systems, there are still plenty of options from GP shared care to midwife clinics, Midwife Group Practice, private midwives in a public hospital, obstetrician care in a public hospital, or private obstetricians within public or private hospitals. Very confusing stuff.
So, here are the 50 most informative answers I received from the Mamamia community for you to peruse, if you are in the privileged position to be tossing up both options.
I went public. Paid absolutely zero. Had a private room, brilliant care (yes, in a major city). C-sections with both, beautiful work and wonderful pre, during, and aftercare. No complaints at all. We have the best health care in the world, I can't fathom how people think they can get better care by spending thousands. Would 100 per cent go public again.