Pregnancy is one of those times in your life where you would not want to leave anything to chance. It is a delicate period, where you need to take very good care of yourself, as that will have a direct impact on your unborn child. An obstetrician (OB)will be the best suited to be with you through this period – right from conceiving to the post natal period. But what is best for one mother may not necessarily be the best for another. And this can be a confusing choice for some. So here are some tips for you to choose the best obstetrician for you in Melbourne.
Research, and ask questions
It helps to research and ask your GP, friends and family for recommendations. You will also likely get useful leads from online forums, social media and even the RANZCOG list.
But what is important is to keep your needs in mind – about the kind of care you would like to receive before delivery, about the availability of the obstetrician at the time you are due, their availability round the clock in case any need arises, and so on. Some of you might prefer a female doctor, yet some others might prefer a doctor who specialises inhigh risk pregnancy. These are factors that only you can judge best about, and ascertaining these before you decide on one doctor is the ideal thing to do.
The public vs private hospital conundrum
This one can be quite a poser for some. There are many good public hospitals in Melbourne, and if they provide maternity services, then you could consider them. However, the benefit of choosing a private OB is that you can choose the hospital that you want to have your delivery at depending on the kind of care you want post-delivery. Having said this, a lot of private obstetricians also practice with some of these public hospitals, and you can check if there is a match between the OB you want to consult with, and the hospital that he / she is associated with.
Skills and experience
All certified obstetricians in Melbourne are required to be accredited by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) before they use the title of an obstetrician. This ensures a certain minimum level of competence, as RANZCOG provides this accreditation only after the doctors demonstrate their capability to provide the best quality of care during, before and after pregnancy, both physically and psychologically.
You zero down on the OB that you want, based on experience, qualifications, hospital admitting rights and more. It might seem like the best choice on paper, but it is really important for you to be comfortable sharing with, and communicating with. Ask yourself questions like how comfortable do you feel to ask them questions, or talking about your body, including your private parts, and maybe even your intimate life? Do you feel confident about their overall outlook on things that are important to you, and their judgement? There is a high likelihood that your obstetrician may end up delivering your baby, and so this becomes very crucial.
The services and consultations of your obstetrician may not always be covered by medical insurance, especially if they are provided outside a hospital. So don’t hesitate to ask your OB about the costs at the start, so that you can be better prepared for that. Also, you can request them to provide you a breakdown of their costs, so that you are flagged off about any additional or out of pocket fees that you might need to incur while being admitted to the hospital.
Pregnancy can be a physically and emotionally overwhelming experience, and having your OB at a place convenient for regular check-ups and consultations can save on a lot of stress and time. This can be close to your home, or workplace or even your hospital. It would be ideal to have your obstetrician practicing close to the hospital, so that there is no time lost in cases when you might need him / her at the earliest. Thankfully, most OBs practice in the close vicinity of major maternity hospitals.
While physical proximity is definitely important, it is also absolutely essential to understand their availability from a time point of view. A lot of obstetricians practice on their own, but there are some who practice with others, so that they can offer patients continuous care when one of them is unavailable. It makes sense to ask, and understand if there are any such arrangements in place, as this can be helpful in case of emergencies, or a premature delivery. And if there is such an arrangement, it will also do you good to meet up with the other OBs in the practice, so that you don’t feel uncomfortable communicating with them when the need arises.
We hope these tips help you decide on which obstetrician you would like to consult with, in Melbourne, and choose one that is right for you.