Tips from mums on choosing the right healthcare when having a baby.

Tips for weighing up family healthcare options.

Planning a family can be tough enough, and navigating the healthcare system on top of that can be overwhelming. Details such as where to give birth and what you want to be covered for can be a difficult decision for some. Do you go with private or public healthcare?

Belinda Prior and Tania Parker from Medibank have had different experiences in both private and public healthcare. Here are their personal experiences and tips for mums-to-be.

Listen to their full interview here:

1. Think about how you want to have your baby

If you have private health insurance already, call your provider to find out what you’re covered for. For instance, find out if you’re covered for birth in a private hospital and which services you can claim as part of your cover. It’s a good idea to do this at least 4 to 5 months before deciding to start a family as most hospital products have a 12 month wait before they will pay benefits for obstetrics. If you haven’t already done so -- now is a good time to start.

2. Ask around and do some research

Ask friends with kids about their experience. Who was their doctor? What was their pregnancy and birthing experience like? If you don’t know anyone with children, speak to your GP to learn what your options are.

3. Make a shortlist of obstetricians and give their office a call to:

  • Confirm which hospitals they can deliver your baby in, as most obstetricians only deliver at specific hospitals.
  • Find out if they’ll be available to deliver your baby in 9 months -- if not, ask who will be covering for them at that time (it’s quite normal for obstetricians to pair up to cover each other’s patients).
  • Ask for a breakdown of approximate costs for their services. They will usually be able to discuss this with you over the phone. (It can feel a bit awkward to have this conversation, but rest assured it’s very normal!)

4. Check the hospital beforehand

If you have a few hospitals in mind, head to their website or call them to arrange a ‘hospital tour’, as the majority of private and public hospitals host regular tours of their maternity wards. Try to see at least two hospitals to compare. You may also be able to ask for a list of accredited obstetricians who deliver at their hospital.

5. Research birthing options available to you

Knowing how you want to have your baby helps shortlist your hospital options. For example, public hospitals may not offer certain options that are often available in private hospitals, such as planned caesareans or water births. It’s good to think about this before seeing your obstetrician so you can discuss what you want and talk about your preferences.

To read more articles about parenthood and keeping kids healthy, visit Better Families.

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