MELISSA Maimann has become the first private midwife in St George to receive accreditation under the Medicare benefits schedule.

I'm pleased to have been interviewed by The Leader: I am the first eligible private midwife in the St George area to receive a Medicare Provider Number. Link

For expectant mums, the Medicare rebates equates to about $2500 off the total cost of using a private midwife.

Ms Maimann, of St George, said she was one of only 10 private midwives in the country to receive the accreditation, which also enables providers to access some items listed on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme.

The accreditation also legitimised private midwifery practice as an acceptable and mainstream option for giving birth, Ms Maimann said.

"It makes it really affordable for families and a lot of research and support in private midwifery practice is providing a gold standard of care to mothers and babies," Ms Maimann said. "I've always wanted to be a midwife since about five."

Mothers who use a private midwife have the choice of a giving birth at home, in a hospital or birth centre.

Ms Maimann said the most common reason that mothers chose to use a private midwife was for the "continuity of care" and because women wanted to know the person that was going to be with them "for the big day".

"They want to have control over their care and to have more input into the decisions that are made," Ms Maimann said.

"We can order tests and ultrasounds as well, so women don't need to go to their GP in order to have that done."

There were 295,700 registered births in Australia last year, figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed.

The total fertility rate was 1.90 babies per woman, a small decrease from 1.96 babies per woman in 2008 and 1.92 babies per woman in 2007. Tasmania had the highest fertility rate.