Care providers in labour include midwives and obstetricians.
Around 30% women in Australia will have some of their care from a care provider who is chosen by them and known to them in the private system, be it a doctor or midwife.
Around 70% women give birth in the public system, most under the care of a midwife or doctor whom they have not met before.
Why does it matter if your care provider is known to you and chosen by you?
- It is sometimes hard for care providers to know exactly what the woman they are caring for wants in her labour: the labour may be quite advanced at the time that the woman comes in in labour, and it might be hard for the woman or her support person to verbalise what it is that she wants
- It can be difficult for a care provider to cater accurately to each woman's needs and expectations, especially when they have not met before. A birth plan is a good way to communicate basic wants and needs for labour, but often the more subtle issues cannot be known without the midwife and woman knowing each other beforehand.
- Midwives often feel that labour is not the best time to be educating a woman about her choices and the pros and cons of each option, and for good reason: when labour is well established, contractions come every 3-4 minutes, leaving little time in between to discuss choices and options and work out what will be best for the woman.
If you are cared for by a private care provider who is known to you and chosen by you, you will have the opportunity in your pregnancy to discuss with them what is important to you in your birth, and they will have the opportunity to speak with you about any concerns they may have.
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.