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Three quick steps to get a referral to a private obstetrician

05 December 2022

Choosing an obstetrician is often the first of many decisions you get to make when you choose private maternity care. Obstetrician Dr Mei Cheah guides you through the three quick steps to getting a referral and the first appointment with your chosen obstetrician.

Finding out you are pregnant is a moment to celebrate.

For many couples it also brings a sense of relief, particularly if you have been trying to get pregnant for some time.

Now that you have done your pregnancy tests, what comes next?

1. Make an appointment with your GP

Make an appointment to confirm your pregnancy and seek a referral to your chosen hospital or obstetrician for your pregnancy and birth care.

At this appointment your GP will ask you about your preferences for how your pregnancy and birth will be managed. They will offer you the opportunity to go to a public or a private hospital, and they will also ask whether you want to choose your own doctor.

That is why you should do your research.

2. Do some research before you attend your GP appointment.

This research can include:

  • asking your friends or family members about their pregnancy and birth experiences and their recommendations of obstetricians or hospitals
  • calling your private hospital insurance fund to check if you are covered for private maternity care (remember the one year waiting period)
  • browsing our obstetricians on the website, including reading their profiles, to find a specialist who you think you might like to see
  • you may want to “google” search their reviews or social media platforms to have a feel of their personality and ethos to see if they may be a good fit for you.
  • calling obstetricians rooms for an overview of their costs, in particular ask for their birth management fees as these can vary and are no covered by private health insurance

Doing this research before you go to your GP appointment means you have some idea of how you would like to be cared for during pregnancy and birth. It may also give you a few questions to ask your GP for their advice or recommendation.

3. Ask for a referral to your chosen obstetrician from your GP.

You can then take the referral to your obstetrician and book in your first appointment when you are about eight to 10 weeks pregnant. Some obstetricians have a cap on their numbers so you may want to book early to avoid disappointments.

If you haven’t chosen a specific obstetrician but know which hospital you would like to go to, you can ask your GP for a recommendation. Or they can provide you an open referral which you can take to any obstetrician of your choosing.

My final tip

Getting to choose the obstetrician who looks after you throughout your pregnancy and during birth is one of the key benefits of private maternity care.

Often the most popular obstetricians get booked up early.

So as soon as you have your referral from your GP, book your appointment with your preferred obstetrician so you don’t miss out. You may even consider booking an appointment directly and then obtaining a GP referral in some circumstance, to ensure you have an appointment slot with the obstetrician of your choice. 

It is a long term relationship that you form with them, so doing your research beforehand, and having an idea of who and what you’d like will help your GP to choose the perfect fit for you. 

Dr Mei Cheah - Obstetrician and Gynaecologist

Dr Mei Cheah is a practising obstetrician and gynaecologist at St John of God Berwick Hospital with special interest in minimal invasive surgery. She is passionate in providing accessible, highest quality care, supporting her patients’ journey through all stages of their reproductive lives and beyond.