Choosing an obstetrician in Melbourne can be simple or challenging depending on the amount of home work you are willing to put into the task.There is no need to drive around town or speak to several people before you find the best pick from the lot. What you need to know, however, is the role played by an obstetrician in taking care of the health and well being of you and your baby through the different stages of your pregnancy and post-natal care as needed.
The following tips will help you choose an obstetrician in Melbourne to handle your pregnancy with the skill and competence needed.
1. Private or Public
Before we move forward with this, one basic decision you would need to take is whether you would work with a public hospital or a private obstetrician. Do remember that in Australia, thankfully, we do have some great public hospitals.
Obstetricians who have their private practice also visit the public hospitals to update their knowledge, gain more experience, connect with colleagues, teach new doctors or merely because they are keen on supporting the public system. Therefore, if you do have a public hospital nearby offering maternity service, you may be at an advantage considering that option.
If your choice gravitates to private practitioners, the advantages will include a choice of hospital to deliver your baby, the environment in which you and your baby is cared for, ability to choose an obstetrician with the right amount of experience and qualifications, and the same individual taking care of your pregnancy and post natal needs. In a public hospital, different individuals may be taking care of your needs across the pregnancy and post-natal period.
2. Finding your obstetrician
There is no dearth of qualified and experienced obstetricians in Melbourne, and you can use the digital world resources or the local yellow pages to find someone closest to you. However, often mothers and mothers to-be are influenced by factors like previous experience with a particular obstetrician, reputation in known circles, reference provided by members of the family etc. But, it is important that you align your own specific needs with the obstetrician you choose. The most important consideration should be his/her availability when needed most. For instance, if your obstetrician happens to be on a planned vacation during the third trimester of your pregnancy, that could cause potential problems for you. One way to address this is finding your obstetrician early in the first trimester of your pregnancy itself and confirming his/her availability throughout your pregnancy and post-natal period. Further, such an early association will also help you get informed answers for the myriad number of questions you will likely have throughout your pregnancy.
3. Experience and skills of your obstetrician
RANZCOG or the ‘Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ and you can check the standing of your obstetrician via the Medical Board. Before an obstetrician starts a private practice, he/she would have helped over 1000 babies into this beautiful world through different methods. Usually, a registered obstetrician would have completed 6 years of medical education and another 6 years of specialization in obstetrics and gynaecology. Further, an ongoing professional and ongoing training are also stipulated to maintain the accreditation.
Proximity to your obstetrician is a major consideration in choosing the doctor for your needs. Ideally, your chosen obstetrician’s practice should also be close to the hospital where you will be delivering your baby. This way, the time consumed in commuting for you as well as your obstetrician will be minimal and that could be critical in certain circumstances. Most private practitioners will also have a maternity hospital close to their regular practice office.
5. The Hospital
If you choose a public hospital, you could expect to get discharged after a day or two in the case of a normal delivery or about a week if you have a C-section delivery. Most of the duration in the hospital will be devoted to caring for your baby, meeting well-wishers and letting the body adjust to post-delivery conditions.
When you have a specific hospital in mind to deliver the baby, it is ideal also to ensure that your obstetrician’s practice is also near that hospital. For residents of Melbourne CBD and nearby suburbs, East Melbourne Obstetrics and Gynaecology can be the best option. If a clinic or hospital meets your needs, you may also check out an obstetrician who also works with that hospital. This way, you can potentially avoid risks associated with traffic issues and ensure that your doctor is close at hand when you need her most.
Method of practice and accessibility
An important factor that you need to bear in mind is that most obstetricians are women and given their family responsibilities, it is virtually impossible to provide 24×7 365 care for you and your baby. However, because of this constraint, there has been a recent move to share the practice with multiple obstetricians so that you still can reach for one of them if the obstetrician you work with cannot make it at a given moment. It will also be a great idea if you get to meet all the obstetricians practising in tandem with your chosen obstetrician so that you don’t have a stranger delivering your baby.
7. Take your obstetrician into confidence
It is also important that you have complete confidence in your obstetrician, her advice and judgment. You should also be comfortable sharing your concerns and issues with your body, including the private parts, the movement of the baby and any other factor that causes concern for you and your baby. Most professionals are blessed with a pleasant disposition though you need to appreciate that they are also humans subject to their psychological pulls and pressures on a given day. Evaluate this factor carefully, so that you are not in for unpleasant surprises on an important day in your life.
While these are some of the important considerations that will help you choose the right obstetrician in Melbourne, you may also want to rely on family elders, your husband and other well-meaning friends before deciding on the particular obstetrician to cater to your needs.
Enjoy your pregnancy and always maintain a positive frame of mind.