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> Choosing Your Gynaecologist

Congratulations on your pregnancy! The coming months and years are going to be a crazy, thrilling, and sobering experience; one of the most important decisions of an expectant mother is to find Dr. Right. An obstetrician will accompany you through your nine months of pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. Obstetricians tend to be trained in the related science of gynaecology, which makes them suitable to advise you on matters relating to the female reproductive systems and the breasts.


Most women grapple with the choices of hospitals to deliver in, and the wide number of obstetricians available. Apart from receiving recommendations from friends of friends, how do you find the best Obstetrician-Gynaecologist to care for you? Here are the important factors to consider.


Comfort Level

You’ll be sharing many intimate details with your doc, so feeling comfortable and being free to be completely honest are extremely important. For this reason alone, many expectant mothers (and their husbands!) will choose a female obstetrician, since they are more in touch with the challenges that the mom will face. “I was pretty shy and prefered a female gynae to be my consultant. Not only that, being females also means that they were most likely to have been pregnant and this makes them more relatable.”  said Cynthia Koh, 34 yers old account executive with 1 child. If you’re uncomfortable with the thoughts of a male physician examining your intimate parts, or have religious objections to examinations by a male, it’s safer to restrict your search to female doctors.


Reputation

Reputation usually means that the doctor is competent and has a track record (but not always!). Friends and relatives who’ve given birth before can be good sources of information; they may find their physicians to be effective and recommend them highly, or they may tell you about the doctors to avoid! Some pieces of important information that you can glean from them include the best times to visit so as to avoid the crowd, advice on insurance registration and claims, and even which nurses are naughty or nice. If you don’t have anyone to consult, fret not; you’ll often find people on pregnancy forums who are glad to lend a helping hand, or two. “ I was referred by my sis-in-law who had pleasant experience with her. She willing to attend to my queries and is very experienced in her field”  said Shirley Tan, 33 year old stay at home mom with one child.


Cost

Consultation and delivery fees can vary widely among doctors, especially between public and private hospitals. It’s best to ring up the clinic to enquire about their rates and packages; be sure to ask whether there are hidden fees involved, such as fees for ad-hoc visits and treatment. Here are the major fees with the average costs that you’ll have to enquire about.

  • Consultations ($60 - $150 per session)

  • Depends on the hospital chosen. You could opt for a consultation package that averages $400 in public hospitals that covers all the needed consultation sessions, and may come with several additional perks

  • Ultrasound Scans ($170 per scan)

  • These are typically not included in packages, but you can request for them to be added in, or just follow the typical ad-hoc scan routine

  • Prenatal Classes ($200 for 5 – 6 sessions)

  • The classes will cover the basics of pregnancy and parenthood, from learning to care about yourself and your baby, to diet recommendations and diaper changing.

  • Delivery ($3,500 to $12,000)

  • Again, this varies widely between the hospitals, delivery plan, length of stay, and the standards of medical care

  • Confinement Nanny Service ($2,200 to $3,500 for a 28-day period)

  • Confinement Nannies can help to nurse the mother back to health after the rigors of pregnancy, and care for the baby while the mother is regaining her strength.

  • Immunizations ($500 for polyclinics, can go above $1,000 in private hospitals)

  • These jabs are critical and cover a range of infectious diseases like Hepatitis B, Diptheria/Pertussis/Tetanus (DPT), Polio, Pneumococcal Vaccine (PCV), and Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR)


Location

Location is important, and not simply for travelling time reasons; the hospital you’re looking to deliver in will affect your choices of physicians, or perhaps the other way round. When it comes to conducting deliveries, obstetricians are generally limited to the hospitals which they are located in, or have partnerships with. In certain cases, the physician may have special privileges to deliver in other hospitals, so do check on this while making your choice. Natassha, 34, an accounts executive with one child, shares: "I chose my doctor before choosing the hospital. Moreover, it's important to know the mode of birth you intend to go for. I went for a normal delivery, but if you are going for a water birth, only select hospitals that have it." In my opinion, choose your doctor first before choosing the hospitals. Moreover, it is important to know the mode of birth that you intends to have. If you intend to do water birth, not every hospital offers it, so choose carefully".


Your Birth Plan

Your physician should respect and accommodate your birth plan, while making recommendations that are best for you and your baby. There are several types of delivery methods – natural delivery, C-section, waterbirthing, hypnobirthing, and home birth. Water birth has become more mainstream in recent years, and is said to result in a more relaxed, less painful experience for the mother, with the water aiding in the pushing stage. Also, the main idea is that the waters of the pool will feel like the inside of the uterus, having a calming effect on the newborn baby.


In Singapore, water birth is available in National University Hospital (NUH), Mount Alvernia Hospital, Thomson Medical Centre, and Raffles Hospital. The cost of utilizing water birth facilities ranges from $400 to a hefty $3000, which comes on top of the maternity package fees.


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