It is so important for couples get educated so that they can seek out the best care for their babies and themselves. With the right information and education, women and their partners can be active participants in their care during pregnancy and birth, not just passive recipients of that care. They can experience childbirth, not just be delivered.
The most impotant question to be able to answer is: “Do I really understand how the female body is designed to give birth?”
I think that, in Australia, friends and family, media, celebrities and private health insurance influence the decision about where to give birth more than an understanding of the birth process.
Another important question is: “What are the differences between midwifery-led care and obstetric-led care?” If you can’t answer this, and understand the implications of which one you choose, then you can’t be making an informed decision on which setting is best for you.
In Australia we have 3 main care givers
Midwives, GPs and obstetricians
In 4 settings
- Public hospital
- Private hospital
- Birth centre
In public hospitals you can choose between midwifery clinics, standard hospital clinics where you might see a mixture of midwives and junior doctors or GP shared care. You usually only see an obstetrician if you are considered high risk at any point in your pregnancy or birth.
If you choose a private hospital, in WA this means you are choosing obstetric-led care.
If you choose a birth centre, you are choosing midwifery-led care.
If you choose to birth at home you will need to choose a midwife, or a GP who does home births.
There is a final combination and that is an Independent midwife with admitting rights to hospitals. At this stage independent midwives in WA only have admitting rights to public hospitals.
Sourcing and attending good quality childbirth education may seem like a hassle to busy parents but a good childbirth education class can help you to sort through conflicting or inaccurate information, and give you the tools you need to get the care you deserve.