Have you ever wondered what the differences are between specialist obstetricians, general practitioners and midwives?
Specialist obstetricians have specialist qualifications ie they have completed a medical degree and then obtained a post graduate degree (minimum 6 years of training in obstetrics and gynaecology). This training covers both low and high risk obstetrics, fertility management, antenatal (pre pregnancy), pregnancy, labour and post natal care.
They are also trained in assisted delivery (eg vacuum delivery) and surgery (eg removal of retained placentas, caesarean sections, suturing episiotomies, hysterectomies, pelvic floor repairs.) During their training they are taught to manage normal deliveries but also how to deal with all complications associated with pregnancy. Most obstetricians also practice in gynaecology which means they can deal with other gynaecological issues where needed.
GP obstetricians are trained primarily in general practice but they may also have a Diploma in Obstetrics (six months training) or an Advanced Diploma in Obstetrics (12 months training). Their training covers low risk obstetrics and certain aspects of high risk obstetrics but not to the extent of what is covered by the specialist curriculum. Some GP obstetricians can do caesarean sections.
According to the Australian College of Midwives, a Midwife is a qualified health professional, trained and committed to providing care, education, advice and support to women and their families during pregnancy, labour and birth, and the early postnatal period. Their training focuses on intrapartum (labour care) and post partum care, especially breastfeeding.
Midwives provide one on one care during labour and you will receive this care in both the public and private system. After the birth of your baby midwives will provide care to both you and your baby and assist with breastfeeding. Most midwifes do not provide antenatal care.