Some pregnant women fear giving birth in hospital could put them at a greater risk of contracting coronavirus and are turning to community midwives instead.
But the level of demand cannot be met if health services continue running as they do now, the Australian College of Midwives believes.
That comes as the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists stresses hospitals and birthing units remain the safest place to give birth.
ACM midwifery adviser Ruth King says her organisation has heard from women and community contacts that private midwives are in hot demand.
"There has been a huge surge in women trying to access midwives who provide community-based services, so that's the private midwives," she told AAP on Wednesday.
"I've heard of one midwife who had to turn away 20 women."
Ms King said hospitals have been taking sensible measures to reduce the risk to pregnant women.
The demand for midwives outside of hospitals can't be met under the models health services currently use, she said.
But capacity could be boosted if hospitals redeployed some midwives into community roles and others who are no longer practising reentered the workforce.
It would also help if a model known as Midwifery Group Practice, where women receive one-on-one care from a midwife from pregnancy to postnatal needs, was used more widely, she said.
"We've got enough midwives to make it happen, we just need the leaders in those services to make those changes," Ms King said.
The RANZCOG said it's "most important" that women keep receiving antenatal, birthing and postnatal care from trained professionals.
"The safest place to give birth is in a hospital, or birthing unit," college president Dr Vijay Roach said.
The two groups stress that women should have access to a chosen support partner during birth.
Melbourne woman Hannah Dwyer is due to deliver her second baby next week and has considered what would happen if her husband Lachlan couldn't be by her side should social distancing rules be tightened further.
She felt emotional remembering how she and Lachlan had each spent an hour cradling their first child, Joe, after his birth three years ago
Lachlan had also given her massages, encouraged her and fed her snacks during the labour and birth process, she said.
"Little things like that can have a huge impact," Ms Dwyer told AAP.
They plan to have the birth at a Melbourne hospital for women.
Australian Associated Press
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