Choosing a care provider for your pregnancy can be confusingYet it is so important. Here’s a rundown of some of the options.
The most common model of care (MOC) within the public hospital system is GP shared care. Your GP provides regular antenatal appointments and you will have two-three appointments with a midwife at the hospital where you will birth. When you are in labour, you attend the hospital and will be cared for by the birth suite midwife on duty.
Many women now are choosing midwifery care and it’s understandable why. Many studies from all over the world, including Australia, show that outcomes are better for both the mother and the baby when a known midwife provides continuity of care during the ante-natal, birth and postnatal period.
Many public hospitals have a Midwifery Group Practice program. This is where you receive all your care from a Registered Midwife and when it’s time to go to the hospital or birth centre for labour and birth, you will be cared for by a midwife that you know. The midwife will continue to provide care and support for you and your family until 6 weeks after the birth.
Some private hospitals also offer a midwife program. You will still see your obstetrician, as they will monitor your pregnancy and your baby from a medical perspective, but you will also have regular appointments with a midwife. Midwives provide individualised, holistic care and education, knowing that everyone’s needs are different. Midwife appointments will be longer so they can spend more time explaining things, answering questions and ensuring you understand everything you need to know so you can make informed choices.
Evidence shows that home birth has the best and safest outcomes for mothers and babies of women with low-risk pregnancies. Private practising midwives (PPM) provide home birthing services as well as antenatal and postnatal care in their clinic or in their own home. Some PPMs also have visiting rights to a local hospital enabling them to care for you during labour and birth in hospital if that is your chosen place of birth. There is also the option of having PPM shared care with your local hospital, where you have your antenatal and postnatal care provided by your midwife and then go to the hospital for labour and birth and be cared for by the hospital midwife.
Regardless of which model of care you choose, it’s important that you are able to build a trusting relationship with them, right from the beginning. Ask a million questions. Tell them about your needs and wants. Ask them about their policies and how and why they do things the way they do.
Remember, your care provider wants the best experience for you too, so open communication will help them provide the best care possible for you so that you can have the best experience.