A woman’s choice of care provider for pregnancy and birth is one of the most important decisions she will make. This major decision is the major influence on her birth outcome: whether it will be caesarean, successful VBAC, epidural, natural birth and so on.
Some things to consider when deciding on a care provider are:
- What sort of relationship would you like to have with your care provider? Are you merely looking for physical check-ups in pregnancy?
- Are you after a care provider who will be known to you when you give birth? If so, how well would you like to know that person? Is it important that you have met them just once, or do you want them to have provided all of your care during your pregnancy?
- How important is it to you that your wishes are respected during birth?
- How much information would you like to receive during pregnancy?
- Do you wish to be actively involved in the decisions made about your care or are you happy to leave all decision-making up to others?
You will also want to explore your care provider’s philosophy on pregnancy and birth to ensure that there is a match with your own
What about place of birth?
There are three options for place of birth: home, birth centre and hospital. Midwifery care is available at all three locations. Obstetricians generally work only in hospitals. Knowing where you would like to birth your baby can help you in choosing a care provider.
Are there any poor reasons for choosing a care provider?
Yes! And I hear them very often. It is not wise to choose a care provider because:
- They are close to your home / office
- Your mother used them
- You feel you don’t have any other choices (there are always choices)
- They are female / they are male. Plenty of female obstetricians are more interventionist than male obstetricians.
- Your GP recommended them (unless you are sure of the basis for that recommendation)
- They are cheap
- They do an ultrasound at every visit
- They delivered you
- It would offend Aunt Bessie if you didn’t go to Dr X
Melissa Maimann is an endorsed eligible midwife in private practice in Sydney. One of the first eligible midwives in Australia, Melissa now offers a range of care options for women including private midwifery care, antenatal shared care and birth support. Visit Melissa's website to learn more about her services.