Six tips for choosing an obstetrician

Need to choose an obstetrician but don’t know where to start? Start right here.

When you’re having a baby, it is natural to want the best possible care for your blossoming family. There are a number of choices available, and what is considered “the best” will be different for everyone. One option is to receive all your care from an obstetrician, from pregnancy until your baby is born. 

What is an obstetrician?

An obstetrician is a doctor who specialises in providing medical care before, during and after childbirth. Some women feel more comfortable knowing they have their own obstetrician by their side throughout their pregnancy, and if complications arise they will be with someone they know and trust to handle it. 

How to choose an obstetrician

1. Know what you want

If you decide you want to have an obstetrician, or your GP has recommended you see one, finding the right obstetrician is similar to finding any service provider. You need to discover if they are able to give you the appropriate help and care that you may need, and in the manner, you want if possible.

“Some initial factors to consider are will the obstetrician be available to you for all your antenatal appointments and for the birth? They may be in a group share arrangement and it's important to know how frequently they handover and who they handover to,” says Melbourne based obstetrician, gynaecologist and fertility specialist, Dr Joseph Sgroi.

2. Shop around and get advice

“Initially, it’s important that you research different obstetricians, to ensure you find the right fit for you.  You could ask for recommendations. Friends or family may offer you their personal recommendations from their own experiences and your GP may recommend someone based on your medical history,” says Dr Sgroi.

Following her doctor’s advice was precisely how Bupa member and employee, Suzy West, found her obstetrician. 

“My GP at the time recommended her. I am not an overthinker and generally take advice from people who are professionals in their field,” she says.

3. Make sure you’re comfortable with them

The journey through pregnancy and birth can be filled with great joys, and sometimes worry. It’s important that you feel confident that whoever is on your team understands the needs and concerns of you and your family, and takes every aspect of that into consideration. 

“Once you have chosen your obstetrician and made your first appointment you need to feel confident in talking to them. It is important that you have confidence in your obstetrician, their judgment, and advice, and you do not feel awkward with them. You should feel comfortable raising issues about your body, including talk about your private parts, your state of mind, and your preferences and expectations,” says Dr Sgroi.

Pregnant woman surfing the web on her laptop

4.Speak your mind

If you feel that you are not on the same page or you disagree with your obstetrician for whatever reason, try talking to them and explaining how you feel. 

“Then, if you still feel the need to switch specialists, do it as early as possible to ensure your new obstetrician can become familiar with you and your case.  Additionally, the closer you are to your due date, the more difficult it might become to find another obstetrician as many book up quickly,” says Dr Sgroi.

5. Ask questions

Don’t be worried about asking questions and telling your obstetrician exactly what you want. You are entering a partnership, and you’re the one having the baby.

“You need to ask if your obstetrician available to be contacted all the time and how do you contact them?” tells Dr Sgroi. “Also if it is important for you to have your baby at a particular hospital you may want to check which obstetricians practice at that hospital as this will reduce your choice.” 

6. Understand your costs upfront

In the lead-up to giving birth, there might be services that you obtain from a specialist like your obstetrician without being admitted to hospital. 

By law, private health insurance can’t generally cover medical services outside of a hospital. That means it’s important to check with your obstetrician what this might mean during your pregnancy. By knowing your costs upfront, you’re less likely to have any nasty surprises.

You should also ask your specialists to provide Informed Consent so you are informed upfront of any additional out of pocket fees that you might have while admitted to hospital.

Take a look at our list of medical gap scheme providers to help you find an obstetrician near you. 

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