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Should I choose a midwife or obstetrician when having my baby?

There are many factors to consider when it comes to choosing if you want a midwife or an obstetrician caring for you throughout your pregnancy and the birth of your baby. As midwife Anita Guerra explains, the most important thing is to be well informed before making your decision.

Apr 28th • 

In Australia, you can have your baby in a public hospital, a private hospital, a birth centre or at home.

So which carer is better? A midwife or an obstetrician?

As a midwife who for the last 12 years has worked between public and private hospitals (now working in a private hospital with obstetricians), I feel that your decision of where you have your baby and who you have caring for you comes down to: personal choice and whether you have a high-risk pregnancy.

Women under 30 years of age generally tend to go public as they are considered lower risk. Women who are over 35 years of age, are having their first baby, have undergone IVF or have medical issues tend to go private as they feel they need care from an obstetrician.

There are, of course, many factors to consider but it all comes down to personal choice and whether you want one-on-one care or you are happy to rotate between a team of midwives. The other thing to consider is that a midwife in a team you are involved in can’t guarantee they will be at your birth; neither can an obstetrician if they happen to be on holiday or are not rostered on the night or weekend you end up giving birth.

I had my first baby when I was 31 years old. I opted to go private because I wanted continuity of care with one person. Even though I was considered low risk, I liked the one-on-one care and I knew I was still going to be supported by a team of midwives when it came to the time of labour and birth, and being looked after on the postnatal ward.

As the owner of Fit For 2 and training many pregnant women over the last 8 years, every time I ask women why they chose public or private, it came down to cost and if they wanted their own doctor. Some women are very anxious and just need one-on-one support and guidance, while others are more than happy to be supported by a midwifery team in the public system – whether that’s a public hospital, birth centre, shared care or a home birth.

As long as you have done adequate research around what you want for your birth specifically and knowing your choices, you can make a valid decision as to the type of carer that’s right for you.

I always teach my girls to be informed and to know their choices. This is why I specifically designed online education programs alongside my face-to-face training for pregnancy, birth preparation and the 4th trimester.

Many women do not receive enough (or the right) education so that they feel informed and know their choices. Choosing the right caregiver for you is vital, especially when you are going to spend over 11 months with them.

To look further into the difference between the public and private systems so you can make a valid choice for YOU, I suggest you take a look at the links below. Thank you to Birth Choices for this excellent information.

For more information on giving birth in a public hospital, click here.

For more information on giving birth in a private hospital, click here.

I hope this information has assisted you in making the right decision for you and where to have your baby. If you would like to ask me any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Anita Guerra is a Registered Midwife and Certified Fitness Trainer. She runs Fit For 2 in South Morang, Victoria. To find out more about her and get in touch, click here.

You can also find her on Instagram.

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Owner, Personal and Group Trainer and Registered Midwife

Articles by Anita Guerra

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