Who will deliver your baby and where

by Dr. Derrick Thompson (Obstetrician and Gyanecologist)


As soon as you have confirmed your pregnancy, you should decide who is going to look after you and where you would like to give birth to your baby.  Your carer may be a midwife, a general practitioner or an obstetrician.  Your birth may take place at home, in a birthing unit or in an obstetric maternity unit at the hospital of your choice.  Your family doctor may be able to advise you when you make these decisions.  The sooner you make these decisions the better, preferably by the time you are 6-8 weeks pregnant if possible:

As an obstetrician, I recommend that your carer should be capable of:

  • monitoring the progress of your pregnancy
  • identifying early signs of complications (for example, poor fetal growth or the development of pre-eclampsia), and
  • managing your labour, birthing and postnatal care.

The benefit of choosing the care and supervision of your pregnancy by an obstetrician is that he or she can manage all the problems that may develop during pregnancy.  Other carers, such as general practitioners and midwives may need to refer you to an obstetrician for ongoing management in the event of certain complications arising during the antenatal period or labour and birth.

When it comes to deciding where to have your baby, the benefit of giving birth in a tertiary or teaching hospital either as a public or private patient, is that any problems that you or your baby may develop can be managed on site.  This is especially the case if there are indications that your baby may need to be born before 34 weeks gestation and require artificial ventilation.

If you decide to give birth to your baby at an obstetric unit, you need to select the hospital and an obstetrician who delivers there.  If you wish to be delivered by a specific obstetrician of your choice, you need to ring the obstetrician’s consulting rooms, and you will be advised which hospital/s he or she attends.

Many private hospitals limit the number of pregnant women they can care for at any particular time.  Therefore, you might not be successful booking into the hospital of your first choice.

When selecting your obstetrician be guide by:

  • word of mouth, that is recommendation by a friend or relative
  • consulting your family doctor about who he or she would recommend.
  • speaking to the midwifery booking sister at the maternity hospital of your choice.  She will give you a list of obstetricians who deliver at that hospital and you can make your choice.

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