Pregnant? – Public vs Private care. It is quite extraordinary that many young couples truly believe they NEED a private obstetrician and a private hospital to have a baby. In fact, one couple told me recently they thought it was the law and had no idea there were any other options!
Fear surrounding birth appears to be at an all time high. Fear of what? – fear of excruciating pain is the main anxiety, which is most definitely reinforced by the medical profession, the media, many books and television programs.
I met a young woman who is 10 wks. pregnant and seems very ‘flat’! even though she desperately wants to be pregnant. Her doctor told her ‘don’t get excited because statistically you will probably end up with a miscarriage!’ What a great way to begin a relationship between a Mum and her growing baby. She wanted to begin looking at options etc. but felt she needed to wait until she was at least 16 wks. – as ‘advised’ by her doctor. She rang her local private hospital, as he suggested, and booked in, just in case the pregnancy continued. They advised her to book in for an epidural talk given by an ‘experienced’ anaesthetist, who would reassure her about pain relief! Thankfully she did not feel comfortable doing this and we were able to have an early consultation – to share the joy of pregnancy, congratulations, discuss the difference between private vs public care and help her understand exactly all her options. Her comment: “I didn’t realise I should feel this empowered”! My job done!
What you get in the private system?
- limited options in negotiating care
- only choice of care is an obstetrician (doctor)
- no waterbirth available
- generally a large health fund gap to be paid
- no guarantee of chosen doctor at the birth
- very high medical intervention rates in private hospitals, e.g. some have 50-60% caesarean section rates! WHO (world health organisation) recommends our caesarean rate should be around 10%!
- won’t know the midwife looking after you in labour
- very challenging to negotiate a normal birth as many obstetricians have fixed views about how they want birth to unfold
What you get in the public system?
- public hospitals offer a range of midwifery led continuity models of care
- waterbirth available in many facitilites, especially those with a Birth Centre
- medicare covered
- if continuity of care model is chosen, then you will know your midwife for the birth
- medical intervention rates much lower, suggestive of supporting a normal birth
- many ‘extra’ services available, e.g. much more screening is done in a public hospital to identify any risk factors – emotional, social or chemical. On offer is a range of services from psychiatric, social work, drug & alcohol, stress management, nutrition advice etc. etc.
- Accommodation in both private and public is generally the same, i.e. single rooms with en-suite for birthing, single/twin share rooms post-natally. In the public system however, most offer and early discharge program, where you get to go home early and have the support of a midwife visiting.
I want women to know the truth about their choices and what, realistically they can expect.
REMEMBER: BIRTH IS A NORMAL EVENT – IT IS NOT A MEDICAL EVENT
To give your baby the best opportunity to enter the world, shop around for caregiver, place to birth, pregnancy classes and a doula. Do this well and your fears will be easily eliminated. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.
Contact me for information, support and knowledge so that you can make the right decisions for you and your baby.