I’m planning to have a baby! Should I choose a private obstetrician?

Published 31st May 2021 | Dr Ujwala Parashar

Congratulations on your decision to have a baby and for taking the time to research the options available to you. In Australia we have a great health system that offers alternatives to pregnant women and allows the choice of private or public obstetric care during pregnancy and birth. In this article, we will talk about the differences between private, hybrid private, and public options and focus on why women choose private.

Do you have private health insurance?

As a starting point, if you are planning your pregnancy and want to have the choice of private obstetric care you will need to ensure you get private health insurance well in advance. Health funds have a waiting period of 12 months before you are able to claim for pregnancy services. If you already have health insurance, you should check your policy to see if it includes pregnancy services and arrange to upgrade if necessary.  

What are some key considerations when deciding to choose private obstetric care?

Women opt for private obstetric care for a number of reasons. The most common include:

·       Wanting to choose their obstetrician

·       The type of birthing experience 

·       The hospital of choice

·       Presence of obstetric risk factors

Let’s look at each of these main reasons in more depth.

The difference between public and comprehensive private pregnancy management and childbirth options

Childbirth within the public hospital system may involve share care by your GP and involves the management of your pregnancy by multiple doctors and midwives within the public system, with the midwives providing the majority of care and input from an obstetrician only if required. In most instances, your baby is delivered by a midwife and this is often a different person to whom you have been seeing throughout your pregnancy.

Advantages of a private obstetrician

One of the greatest advantages of selecting to have your baby as a private obstetric patient is continuity of care. During your pregnancy, the same obstetrician (who is a trained specialist in pregnancy management and childbirth), monitors you and your baby throughout the pregnancy and may also be present for the birth of your baby. This close and regular monitoring prior to, and during labour reduces the incidence of complex emergency caesarean sections.

The type of birthing experience

Your private obstetrician will discuss in detail your preferences for pain relief and ensure these are met – for example organising for you to have an epidural in place prior to your contractions which can be much more difficult to arrange in the public system.

You can also discuss your preference for an elective caesarean section if you wish to plan your delivery day, or if you are fearful about the possible complications of natural vaginal childbirth. Elective caesarean sections are only available for high-risk pregnancy patients in the public system.

Your hospital of choice

As a private obstetric patient, your obstetrician will deliver your baby in a private hospital maternity unit. Dr Ujwala Parashar is an accredited obstetrician at North Shore Private and the Mater Hospitals, both of which have excellent private maternity units with experienced midwife teams.

Private maternity units offer a far more relaxed experience where you are guaranteed a private room, and in some instances, your partner may be able to stay with you. You are also provided a longer recovery period and breast-feeding support as a private patient. As an example, if you have a vaginal birth in the public system your hospital stay is 1-2 days and 3 days for a caesarean delivery. Within the private system, your hospital stay is 5 days for either type of delivery. 

Other support

Private maternity hospitals also provide comprehensive midwife support to patients. The midwife team is there to support and assist your obstetrician during your labour, as well as give ongoing support for breastfeeding after you have delivered your baby. 

Your private obstetrician will also provide ongoing monitoring and care for up to 6 weeks after your delivery.

Management of high-risk pregnancy

If you have any pregnancy high risk factors, your obstetrician is a specialist in medical management and childbirth. High risk pregnancy factors include:

·       Advanced maternal age (mothers over 35 years)

·       Maternal health problems including high blood pressure, diabetes, epilepsy, thyroid conditions, obesity, disorders of the heart or blood, bad asthma

·       Multiple pregnancy for twins or more

·       Lifestyle choice issues such as smoking, alcohol, illicit drugs

·       Previous conditions in pregnancy such as hypertension and preeclampsia

Choose an obstetrician you like and can talk to

If you have chosen to deliver your baby privately, you and your obstetrician are on the journey together. The obstetrician will be a trusted source of information and advice so you need to feel comfortable with each other.

Typically, if you are a low-risk pregnancy, your private obstetrician will see you:

·       Once per month up until around 28 weeks

·       Every two weeks thereafter until 36 weeks

·       Weekly up until the birth or your baby

·       Post-operative 6-week examination

About Dr Ujwala Parashar and our practice team

Dr Parasshar believes that holistic management during pregnancy gets the best results. To achieve this, she has built our practice with a unique, in-house care team model.

Zoe is our practice physiotherapist. Her role is to provide our patients with individualised pelvic floor assessment, understand vaginal birth and role of pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy, delivery and beyond. This is a pro-active management option designed to achieve pelvic floor relaxation for a better delivery experience and prevent conditions such as incontinence and prolapse.

Jane is our practice midwife and has cared for thousands of women during their pregnancy and childbirth. She works alongside Dr Parashar in the management of your pregnancy during the third trimester and visits you at home after your baby’s birth to provide guidance and support.

During your pregnancy, your labour and after your delivery, Dr Parashar and her team are there to listen and assist you. They will discuss and explain all your delivery options and other care preferences and guide you with options based on your individual needs. At your delivery, Dr Parashar will be there to lead the medical team for the birth of your baby. In case of any instances where she may not be present, she will have one of her trusted obstetrician colleagues to be a part of your delivery. 

At your consultations, you can expect Dr Parashar and her team to:

·       Provide you with information about each stage of your pregnancy

·       Organise tests and scans and discuss the results with you

·       Provide ongoing monitoring of yours and your baby’s health

·       Discuss general good health and lifestyle issues including diet, exercise, and medication use

·       Provide specific physiotherapy advice and exercise programs (as needed)

·       Provide information, advice, and assistance on breastfeeding

·       Visit you and your baby at home after the birth

What is the next step on your baby journey?

If you would like to discuss your obstetric care with Dr Parashar, please ask your GP for a referral and call our team on 1300 811 827 to arrange for an initial consultation.

This will give you the opportunity to meet us and see if we are the right fit for you and your baby-to-be.

Dr Ujwala Parashar, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist

Sam Samant

Dr Ujwala Parashar is a highly trained female obstetrician and gynaecologist with over 15 years of professional experience and training, practicing in Sydney's North Shore and Barangaroo. If you would like more information on conception, or if you are seeking obstetric options and advice, please contact us or call 1300 811 827 to arrange a consultation with her.