Choosing the best practitioner for your needs is a very important and personal decision. Ultimately, there is no right or wrong choice: some women will choose a private obstetrician, others will choose a private midwife and others will choose public hospital care. Some women will make an initial choice of care provider and decide to change care providers during the pregnancy. Other women will make one choice in their first pregnancy and then a different choice in a subsequent pregnancy. What’s important is to have an accurate understanding all the options available so that you can feel confident to choose the best option for your needs. The best people to talk to are the people who actually provide the service, rather than a GP who is removed from the actual services of an obstetrician / midwife / public hospital. Get referred to a private obstetrician or two; interview them; reflect on how you feel after meeting them. Go and visit your local public hospital. Have a tour and speak with the midwives there. And interview a couple of eligible midwives. You do not need a GP referral to see an eligible midwife and you can claim their services through medicare. An eligible midwife is a private midwife who has met an additional registration standard that enables them to have a Medicare provider number. When you are considering a care provider, it’s also necessary to consider where you would like to give birth and to ensure that your care provider can attend you in your chosen setting. You might choose to birth your baby in a public hospital as a public or private patient, in a private hospital as a private patient, in a birth centre or at home. It can be helpful when trying to make a decision to write down a list of questions you may have and also consider what is important to you as you make your choices. For example:
What do I want from my care? What type of practitioner would I feel most comfortable with? What do I need from my practitioner to feel comfortable and safe? Do I want public or private care? Is continuity of care important to me?
These are questions only you can answer. Other questions are for your care providers to answer with you, and it’s a good idea to interview a few care providers – midwives and obstetricians – before making a choice. Midwives and obstetricians will charge a fee for interviews and you are able to claim this through Medicare (your midwife will need to be eligible in order for you to claim a Medicare benefit). It is important during the interview that you ask all the questions that are on your mind, and to be aware of how you feel throughout the interview. Your care provider should inspire you with confidence, help you to feel at ease and comfortable, and the appointment should feel unhurried.
Likewise, your care provider may like to “interview” you, and this is so that your care provider can be sure that s/he can meet your needs. Maternity care is provided in a partnership and so it’s important that both parties feel really comfortable with the other.
There are many questions you might wish to ask your care provider; the best suggestion is to consider what is important to you and write a list of questions.
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