Choosing a caregiver for your pregnancy, labour, birth and beyond
So maybe you’re thinking about falling pregnant or you are pregnant.
A huge, exciting and daunting first step is choosing a caregiver and/or a model of care.
Before you even start to choose your model of care, it’s important to do some research and ask yourself some questions.
- What kind of care aligns with my wishes for the pregnancy?
- What kind of birth would I like to have?
- What sort of labour do I envisage?
- What pain relief options do I think I will engage with?
- What birth setting would make me most comfortable?
And many more wonderful questions...
It might seem too early to know if you are just planning your pregnancy, but it’s actually really important to think about this to make sure you end up with a model of care that aligns with your wishes for your pregnancy and birth. It’s imperative to feel comfortable with a caregiver and know they have an understanding of, and respect for, your wishes for the experience.
Pregnancy and birth are a transformative experience. Knowing yourself, knowing your own body and being true to your own values and goals throughout the process are going to help you come into early motherhood primed with confidence.
In Australia the main models of care to choose from are a variation of any of the following:
- Home birth with private Midwife
- GP/hospital shared care
- Public hospital Midwifery led care (standard low risk public care)
- Private Midwife care (in a private or public hospital)
- Private Obstetric care (in a private or public hospital)
- One to one Midwifery model (available in some public hospitals)
And more... there are actually many subtypes of care within these models of care.
Everyone chooses their model of care based on different priorities. Continuity of having a single well known caregiver may be on top of your list. Having a lengthy postnatal stay may be a priority. Finding a hospital with a low induction rate or a good history of vaginal breech or VBAC rates may be where your search leads you.
Working within your budget and/or private health cover can come into decision making. As well as geographical distance between you and the hospital.
For some women pregnancies may be complex and require speciality medical care. Mother and baby’s health are top priority as always but ensuring your emotional health is taken care of is so important also.
You may be seeking an option to see you through many pregnancies if the fit is right.
Using a combination of models of care for antenatal and postnatal periods is becoming increasingly common in Australia.
Accessing a private midwife whilst engaging a private obstetrician to birth at a private hospital is increasing in popularity. There really is no one size fits all.
And there is also no reason to stay pursuing a model of care that’s no longer resonating with your choices.
So do some chatting, do some research, ask all the questions.
This is your body, your baby, your choice.
Written by: ✌🏻 Emily Biggs, Registered Midwife/Registered Nurse, Mumma of 3