Making the decision to have a family is exciting and choosing an obstetrician that you can trust to guide and care for you throughout the pregnancy and assist you in the delivery of your baby is key to ensuring a safe and happy pregnancy and birth. This is never an easy decision, and one that we understand is critical to you and your family. There are many options available and what is ‘best’ for one person may vary for someone else. So firstly what is an obstetrician?
What is an obstetrician?
An obstetrician is a doctor who is specialised in providing medical care for you before, during and after your baby is born. Many women feel reassured knowing they have their own obstetrician, they know by their side and if complications should occur during the pregnancy they have someone they trust to deal with it.
How to choose an obstetrician?
If you have been recommended a private obstetrician by your General Practitioner or you have decided you would like to have an obstetrician deliver your baby you may want to consider a few factors. Firstly, will they provide you with the care and service you need? Do they provide a warm and welcoming environment where you feel comfortable and relaxed? Is it highly likely that your obstetrician will deliver your baby or are they in a group arrangement, and if so how often do they handover? Is your doctor contactable all of the time?
Besides being recommended an obstetrician by your General Practitioner, many people ask family and friends for their advice and supplement these recommendations by researching online and via their websites. You may also ask the hospital where you would like to deliver your baby for recommendations. All of these forms of research can provide a good sense of the likely suitability between you and your obstetrician.
Expertise and location
All Obstetricians in Australia will have undertaken 6 years of undergraduate study at a tertiary university to obtain their medical degree and then undertaken another 6 years of post- graduate study to specialise in obstetrics. This is normally done whilst they are training in obstetrics at a tertiary public hospital. Some obstetricians will have also undertaken additional surgical and sub specialty areas.
Again, it is also a good idea to look at where your obstetrician is located. Many obstetricians locate themselves near or even in a maternity hospital. Many busy obstetricians like to be located in the hospital as it means they have quick and easy access to their patients at the time they really need them- the birth.
At your first visit you will have a longer visit as this is generally the first opportunity to meet with your obstetrician and discuss any initial concerns or queries you may have and if provides the obstetrician to gain a thorough medical history. Feeling relaxed and confident with your obstetrician and his or her judgement and advice is key to a successful pregnancy and birth as this will build trust over time. It is important to be open and honest so as you can feel comfortable and satisfied in their judgement and advice. The obstetrician is there for you as a resource for information and as a confidant.
Some people are worried about asking too many questions. No question is too little, too big or too embarrassing and you should be able to speak to your obstetrician frankly and honestly about any concern or want you may have. For example, you may have questions about the type of birth you want, caesarean or vaginal and what are the obstetricians birth rates in these areas? What types of pain relief options will be available? Can you contact your obstetrician all of the time and if so how?
This is an exciting and rewarding time in your life and one that should be celebrated. Having peace of mind knowing you have a caring, professional and reassuring obstetrician you trust to assist you throughout your pregnancy and childbirth will only make your experience more precious.