One of the biggest decisions you encounter when first seeing those two pink lines on the pregnancy test is what to name the little thing suddenly taking up residence in your uterus. Trying to avoid naming it after all the annoying people you’ve ever met, not wanting to use a name too popular or too weird whilst also being compatible to the child’s soon-to-be surname can seem overwhelming.

Then you move further down your to-do list and realize it’s all well and good naming the kid, but you have to get them out first. Cue: where on earth am I going to give birth?

We are so very fortunate in Australia to have access to such exemplary health care, to have the option of whether we give birth in a public or private hospital, in a blow-up pool at home or in the middle of a forest surrounded by woodland creatures is a choice we are lucky to be afforded. Knowing this means knowing that the safety of both mum and bub are of the utmost priority to all involved which takes the sting out of the deliberation process.

What you end up needing to consider to make your decision ends up coming down instead of your own personal preferences and what you want and are prepared to pay for.

With my first child, I gave birth through the public health system at my local hospital. This was a difficult pregnancy fraught with issues due to Hyperemesis Gravidarum (severe vomiting and nausea) and threats of preterm labour and resulted in a 31-hour labour and an emergency caesarean at the end. I haemorrhaged during my delivery and was quite unwell afterwards. The team of midwives and on-call obstetricians can’t be faulted. The level of healthcare both my son and I received was top-notch, but I was still home within 72hrs of giving birth as is the standard in Australia…Which can be tough after having a complicated delivery.

With my second child, I opted to go with a private obstetrician, there were many reasons for this but the driving one was that, as an anxious person, I craved a continuity of care that isn’t often available through the public health system. I suffered particularly severe Hyperemesis for the entirety of my pregnancy and by opting to deliver at a private hospital I was able to access a level of care that I wouldn’t have and didn’t receive by going public. I had my same obstetrician just a phone call away, hospital-in-home care, fluffy blankets and (slightly) nicer food in the hospital (when I was able to eat) and more importantly for me, the standard stay time after a caesarean at my private hospital was a minimum six nights. Six nights of someone else bringing me my every meal and six nights of guilt-free time away from my wayward one-year-old. Bliss.

I still had a caesarean for both children, both kids ended up in Special Care, both hospitals had access to all the pain medication I could get my hands on and both placed the safety and well-being of myself and my children as their highest priority. So, at the end of the day, I wanted a bit more cushioning and bit more hand-holding when delivering my second child and was prepared to pay that cost to receive it and for me, it was an infinitely better experience because of it.

That’s only MY experience though and what I felt was important for MY emotional health, but this is not the case for many. Many people would think that the added financial outlay for private health is just not worth it in Australia where the level of care is already so high and that can be very true also. If I wanted a car to get me from A to B I could buy any number of cars of any varying price range to suit those needs but if I wanted a car that was going to warm my bum via voice activation, then I would need to pay a little extra…

To be clear though, while I am certain there are many highly trained individuals in both public and private health – I wouldn’t have wanted anyone other than my amazing obstetrician. Having someone know me and listen to me during a particularly trying period of my life was invaluable and if he said he only delivered in the North Pole I probably would have happily followed him there.

If what you are wanting in a hospital is to safely deliver you of a child in a secure, hygienic environment equipped with the latest medical provisions and highly capable professionals? Then choose any hospital you like because you will receive both whether going public or private.

If you are wanting more of a personal connection to your practitioner – someone who you will get to know over the course of your pregnancy? If you are wanting a big, private room with a bed for your spouse, a nursery to help take your child throughout the night so you can rest, a longer hospital stay and a higher ratio of midwives to patients then a private delivery might be for you.

It all comes down to personal preference and how much you’re willing to pay for the privilege because it is just that – a privilege and I am so very grateful to be in a country like Australia where I can be afforded the luxury of being spoiled for choice.


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