Doctor or midwife?

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Many women with low-risk pregnancies may be attended by a qualified midwife or a general practitioner (GP). A number of expectant mothers want to be delivered by a specialist (obstetrician/gynaecologist) of their choice.

A midwife or GP can refer a woman to an obstetrician if the previous medical or obstetric history reveals a possible complication that may develop during the confinement, or when a high risk situation occurs during the course of the pregnancy.

When the expecting mother is making contact with the medical attendant, who is going to look after the antenatal care and the delivery, here are a few points to consider:

  • Do you feel comfortable with your attendant?
  • Do you feel you can ask the attendant any questions without feeling embarrassed?
  • Does the attendant practise close by?
  • Are you happy with the hospital at which the attendant does deliveries? (See “Choosing your hospital”)
  • Does the attendant practise alone or in a group practice?
  • Are you happy with the other doctor/midwife who will stand in if the attendant is not available?
  • Are the practice hours convenient for you?
  • Are the staff members and nursing sisters friendly?
  • What is the attitude of the attendant and approach to different birth options (e.g. home birth, water birth) you have chosen?
  • Are you comfortable with the attendant’s preference for natural birth or assisted modes of deliveries?
  • Does the attendant have access to ultrasound facilities at the practice?

(Ilse Pauw, Health24)

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