Public vs private pregnancy care: KNOW YOUR OPTIONS
Eating well by following a pregnancy diet plan like that in The Healthy Mummy Eating & Exercise Guide, exercising regularly and including healthy, nutrient filled snacks in your diet such as The Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Smoothie are good ways to have a healthy pregnancy.
As well as these things you also need to think about making decisions about who you are going to see to care for you and your baby throughout the pregnancy, so that it feels right for you.
Here are some points to consider when deciding to choose between public or private pregnancy care.
- Having a baby in the public system has some great advantages. It’s paid for by Medicare. Public hospitals are teaching hospitals so care is a team approach. The medical team is made up of interns, residents, registrars and consultants plus many other professionals. What a wealth and range of expertise.
- There are multiple options for choice of having your baby. There are different clinics such as a midwives clinic or antenatal clinic (higher risk pregnancy). Some hospitals also offer a Primary midwife program where you only see a small team of midwives through your birth and pregnancy.
- Some public hospitals have private rooms for women having caesareans and generally have the consultant at the Caesar so some women would argue there is no point to going private for this reason.
- Some disadvantages of any hospital is a lot of hospitals have exclusion criteria. Unfortunately body weight is a big factor. If you’re over a certain BMI when booking in you may find yourself looking for a hospital that caters for larger women. This is not discrimination towards you it is the safety of you and your baby you need to consider.
- Having a baby when you’re obese can cause you to have many complications such as gestational diabetes, blood pressure problems and complications resulting in issues with clotting. Other complications associated with obesity during labour are early induction due to the size of the baby, pelvis disproportion, increased need for caesarean section, and perioperative morbidity.
- Complications associated with obesity in children are macrosomia (large baby), shoulder dystocia, small for gestational age, late fetal death, and congenital malformations. It is also harder to monitor obese women, as it can be hard to find their baby on the Cardiotocograph (CTG) monitor.
- Other exclusion criteria for hospital can be the gestation. For some it’s before 34-36 weeks gestation and others are 32 weeks or a minimum weight of the baby. The smaller the hospital the more exclusion criteria. Also some hospitals cannot cater for patients requiring a caesarean or any maternal illnesses such as pre eclampsia.
- If you’re after a water birth your choices may be limited as lots of hospitals are starting to stop allowing these types of births.
- Disadvantages of public hospitals can include shared rooms with 2-4 other women. You see a range of doctors so have decreased continuity. Short stay in hospital and potential overcrowding. Also women tend to be discharged earlier from a public hospital.
- Depending on your level of private cover some hospitals allow you to use your Private health insurance for a private room depending on availability. You are admitted as a public patient but receive some of the benefits of a private patient.
- Private hospitals also have their advantages and disadvantages. The biggest disadvantage is cost. You either have to have private health insurance or pay up front. Also you need to be admitted under a private obstetrician therefore there are costs associated with this.
- As you are only seen by private consultants they aren’t always on site in the hospital as they are seeing patients in their medical rooms or in surgery. The midwives generally have to call them in or give a telephone consult as apposed to paging the resident or registrar on call within the public hospital.
- In a private hospital you are guaranteed a private room.
Many women have experienced both private and public hospitals when having their children and find both options equally good and without fault. The decision, like many things throughout pregnancy is a completely personal one and whatever you decide should make you feel confident and happy.
Written by Ali Pickles, Midwife
For more information on a healthy pregnancy click HERE.
Disclaimer: Always speak to your doctor before changing your diet, taking any supplements or undertaking any exercise program in pregnancy. The information on this site is for reference only and is not medical advice and should not be treated as such, and is not intended in any way as a substitute for professional medical advice..
Our plans promote a health weight gain in pregnancy to benefit the mother and baby and you can read more on this here
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