5 tips for navigating the maternity system today!
5 tips for Navigating the Hospital System
Between my two babies, which were very close together in age, I decided to do some Agency work. Whats Agency work? I can hear you asking and as a midwife, it is essentially the idea of me being contracted out to fill gaps. I am employed by a company who are rung and booked when hospitals can’t fill their shifts with their own staff. What this means for me is I get the opportunity to work in many different hospitals, private, public, with a number of awesome and beautiful midwives, doctors and allied staff.
What I learnt in this journey, however, is that all of these places are different and each of these midwives and doctors is great but not necessarily the perfect pick for all women. This is where doing some research can come in handy and knowing who and what to look for when picking a care provider and/or hospital.
What hospital have you picked?
Whether you are private or public. Every hospital has their own care providers, their own room set up (4 bed, 2 bed and private). Each hospital also has their own birth suites, some of these have more equipment than others, some are bigger and some are smaller. To know what hospital is the best choice for you, you need to know what you are walking into, know your alternatives and know what it is that you want from your pregnancy and birthing experience.
So how can you be sure you have the right hospital for you? Book a hospital tour, google, ask other mums on social media (isn’t facebook wonderful?) Work out what it is that you are after during this time and see if your research is aligned with this goal.
What care provider have you chosen?
Consider how you ended up with your care provider… Did you do all the above research to see what their vaginal birth and c section rates are? Their bedside manner? How did they go about giving you knowledge and power? Their views on VBACs? Breech? Twins? Did you choose your care provider simply because they were recommended to you? Ensure that what you plan for your experience is aligned with the vibe you are getting from your care provider. Remember that your pregnancy and birth experience is yours, you are an individual and your pregnancy and baby are unique.
Do you know the difference between a guideline and a policy?
When you are offered tests or offered recommendations, they are simply being provided as part of the pregnancy guideline. These tests and recommendations all have benefits, they all have risks and in some cases there are alternatives. Whether these are the right choice for your body and baby or not, it is important to remember these are all just a guide and you are entitled to accept or decline anything offered. A Policy is something else entirely, these are more necessary and very much more mandatory. These are often in reference to health and safety for staff and skills required by staff to work.
Be sure of the difference and that regardless consent is always yours to give or decline.
Natural VS Normal
What do you define as a normal pregnancy? As a Natural Pregnancy? Normal or Natural Birth?
Ask your hospital, your care provider and your midwives how they define these words. I once heard a male birth worker tell me that a natural birth was easy to achieve as it was anything that came out of a vagina. You may be surprised how others define these terms…or maybe not. Unless you ask though, you won’t know.
Do you know what is available and the differences?
Birth Suite as opposed to Birth Centre? An obstetrician’s job description versus a midwifes? Do you know what MGP means?
There are differences between these care providers approaches and what is available at these birth places. Many parents aren’t aware of these differences until they are in the system and with a care provider, birthing in a certain place in a specified hospital.
Birth Centre is a separate area to birth suite, it does not have a hospital bed, they often have a bath and you cannot have pain relief besides some gas due to the facilities. These are often attached or close to a hospital and not all hospitals have one.
MGP – Midwifery Group Practice is a model of care whereby you receive your very own midwife/s (you may have 2 or 3). You see these midwives for your appointments and you ring them when it is time to birth and it is these midwives that visit you and your baby at home. These can be called caseload or continuity models as well.
Once you have done research on your hospital, your care provider, your model. Once you have thought about what it is that you want from this journey, you may be applauding yourself on how wonderfully aligned all your options are. You may not feel this way in which case it may be time to look at what else you can access or what is better aligned to you. You can even contact me to assist you in finding out what is available in your area, what your options are and preparing for a calm and positive pregnancy and birthing experience.