Posted Tue 22 Feb 2011 11:38
As a midwife who has worked at both public and private hospitals...there are many differences and similarities between the two.
Most women will elect to go to a private hospital because it seems nicer, has a private room and you have an obstetrician (who you know) there for the birth of your baby.
However, many public hospitals these days are well funded, look lovely, have private rooms and offer models of care where you have a known health care provider...often a midwife. (this model of care -having shown time and time again-provides good outcomes for babies and mothers).
It is a well known fact that attending a private obstetrician means that you are more likely to end up with a caesaren section, strong recommendations to have an epidural, or end up having a vacuum or forceps delivery (where the baby is pulled or sucked out of you (which can further provide complications like nasty tears, extreme pain, separation of your baby from you, problems with breastfeeding, bruising to your baby, longer recovery, problems with bonding and post natal depression)...whereas a public hospital has lower rates of this happening. (Sure if you need assistance with having your baby-that should happen)!
If you want the best chance of a natural birth and are willing to work with your body in achieving this- then choose a model of care that supports this. Obstetricians practise in a medical model of care- meaning that their belief of birth is that 'no pregnancy is normal until after the baby is born'...whereas a midwifes' belief of birth is that 'all birth is normal, until or unless medical intervention is needed' (and then sort). If you think of it along the lines of having a bad flu. When this happens- do you take some vitamins, rest some more, maybe take some supplements to help??...or do you visit an ear, nose and throat surgeon and see if they can help.
However, if you or your baby have particular health problems, then an obstetrician is an excellent choice of a health care provider as they are trained to specialise in high risk pregnancies and babies who are unwell or have compilations involved.
Having a baby in a private hospital also doesn't guarantee that your obstetrician will be the one who delivers your baby. Most of them work in teams- so you may end up with someone you don't know anyway. And besides- they only come for the last 10 minutes when the baby is being born- you do all the hard