When I was pregnant with my daughter, people asked why I was going public instead of having my own obstetrician through private care. They wondered why I didn’t want the most educated support if you could afford it. I responded that I would engage a specialist if something was ‘wrong’. I saw birth as a natural event, I didn’t have a disease, I wasn’t sick so why would I need a specialist?
I do understand however why this makes some women feel at ease; I respect their choice completely. In the end that’s what its all about isn’t it, choice?
When you first get the news you’ve got a passenger on board, it’s very easy to become overwhelmed. You may not have even thought about the model of care you’d like to support you through your pregnancy and birth. It may not have even dawned on you how important it is until the appointments start, and you suddenly have a million questions, and everything seems so foreign – you’re completely out of your comfort zone! For what it’s worth, here are my thoughts in a nutshell:
Upside – You’ll have your own Obstetrician, therefore you will have continuity of care. You know you’ll (likely) see the same care provider each visit. You can build a relationship and feel comfortable to ask questions and voice your opinion. Also, if your birth takes a turn you’ve got the specialist help on hand.
Downside – An obstetrician is a medical doctor who has studied obstetrics, a specialist branch of medicine. They specialise in caring for women with complicated pregnancies or special circumstances. As such, their position on child birth is more likely to be through a medical lense- structured and scientific with hospital led procedures and timeframes rather than having a desire to support a normal birth. They will also take on more cases per carer than a hospital which usually leads to long wait times.
Upside – Public births are led by Midwives. A Midwife is obliged to promote normal birth through the midwifery code of conduct. A Midwife is woman centred, focusing on the needs and desires of the pregnant/birthing woman as well as your baby. You may also be able to have a homebirth. Click here for more information. Generally you will only see an Obstetrician if things aren’t ‘normal’.
Downside – In many hospitals you will have a team of Midwives supporting you, so the choice of continuity of care may not exist.
GP let care:
Upside – You likely have an existing relationship that you can build upon that makes you feel supported.
Downside – the GP will unlikely be trained in obstetrics.
Upside – A healthcare facility, staffed by Nurse-Midwives, Midwives and/or Obstetricians, for mothers in labour, who may be assisted by Doulas and coaches. A more homely hospital purely for births, and many are attached to hospitals so help is available in emergency situations.
Downside – Centres are few and far between so you may have to travel.
Each has pros and cons. Research, interview, ask questions and decide. Another great option is to appoint yourself a Doula or Independent Midwife who will advocate for you rather than being required to abide by hospital processes. Click here for more resources. Did you know you can have a homebirth for a VBAC through an independent midwife program? The options are there, you just need to explore.
Knowledge is power. Empower yourself.