A Queensland-wide survey has revealed that very few women say they are informed about all available options for care when they visit a GP in early pregnancy, yet typically the GP is the first port of call when a woman discovers she is pregnant.
The Queensland Centre for Mothers and Babies found that only 7.7% women report that their GP discussed with them all the maternity care options available. This is important because the lack of options presented to women early in their pregnancy does limit their ability to make informed choices about their care. The old saying that you don’t know what you don’t know is very true in this case!
The other concerning aspect is that often by the time a woman does discover her preferred care option, in some cases, that option will be fully booked. for example, private care options such as private obstetrics and private midwifery are often booked by 6- 8 weeks of pregnancy.
In recent years, there has been an expansion in the range of care options that are available to women, both within the public system and private system. Within the private system, private midwives can now provide services that are claimable via Medicare, and private midwives can request ultrasounds and pathology for women in their care, as well as prescribing the necessary medications across pregnancy, labour, birth and the postnatal period. These are fairly major changes to the maternity care system, and women deserve to be informed of all of the options that are available to them when the first find that they are pregnant.
Melissa Maimann is an eligible midwife in private practice in Sydney. One of the first eligible midwives in Australia, Melissa offers a range of care options for women. Visit Melissa's website to learn more about her services.