I believe there are a number of aspects of my service that are unique when compared with some other pregnancy providers.
I have nearly 20 years continuous experience of providing pregnancy care with 14 years as a specialist. I have trained in the UK and the majority of my experience was gained at Australasia’s largest obstetric hospital – National Women’s Hospital in Auckland.
My first (or booking) visits are one hour and standard antenatal visits are 30 minutes to ensure there is adequate time for a thorough assessment and discussion. I can perform an ultrasound scan at every visit to check on your baby (or babies!) if you wish.
I can look after women from before they fall pregnant for the first time until their family is complete.
I give my patients my cell phone number so that they can contact me directly in the event of any significant concerns arising.
The nature of my personality and clinical practice (as opposed to my politics) is conservative and the safety of you and your baby is always my first priority. However I am very keen to accommodate your wishes for your labour and birth and I am capable of stepping outside of traditional medical comfort zones as long as you and your baby are healthy.
I provide a continuous personal 24 hour service and I share my weekends and holidays with only one other obstetrician – Dr Natalie Shaw and Dr Justin Tucker. I do not participate in a group practice where multiple different specialists provide care out of hours and at weekends. I book my holidays and study leave nine months in advance so you will know if I am planning any leave BEFORE you book with me. Most private obstetricians personally deliver the babies of approximately 80 to 85 % of women booked with them. I deliver 95% of mine (unfortunately even I have to take time off occasionally).
When you go into labour you will call me to discuss how things are going at home and we will make a mutual decision as to when the right time is for you to come to the hospital. I will come and see you shortly after you arrive at the hospital (although forgive me if I delay this a little if you come in at 2 – 4 am!) and I will be actively involved in your labour as well as the birth. If you are in labour during my normal office consulting hours I will cancel and reschedule my appointments (with apologies to those who are inconvenienced) so that I am focused on your care. I have a low opinion of obstetricians who simply show up to deliver the baby – usually with a flourish (if they get there on time) – at the end of labour. Some obstetricians deliver babies at different locations around Sydney whereas I only deliver at Randwick (which is also where I live so I am only three minutes from the hospital in the middle of the night).
I work collaboratively with my midwifery colleagues in my office (www.amandabartlett.com and www.betterbeginnings.com.au) and at the hospitals I work in. While I am experienced and capable I do not hesitate to seek the advice of my medical colleagues (including other obstetricians) in potentially difficult situations in order to optimise your care.
Unfortunately safety – particularly for your baby – cannot be guaranteed because of the nature of pregnancy and childbirth. However I strive to do my best to deliver your baby in good condition without compromising your own health and safety. As at November 2010 I have cared for more than six hundred – often very high risk – private patients. None of my patients have suffered a stillbirth (fingers crossed and touch wood) and the only newborn deaths have occurred in babies with preexisting severe life threatening congenital abnormalities (two babies) or extreme prematurity and low birth weight (three babies). None of my births have involved babies suffering any form of oxygen deprivation or significant physical trauma. This safety record is remarkable given the often very high risk nature of my clientele.
I restrict myself to 15 private births per month. My reasons for this are:
- To make sure that I am not caught in two places at once so that I can focus on the care of my individual patients before, during and after the births of their babies
- In order to devote some of my time to the public service at The Royal Hospital for Women
- To make sure I have time to keep up to date with international trends in obstetrics
- To minimise disruption of my consulting sessions to ensure that I am only rarely running late (and if I am attending a birth I prefer to reschedule visits rather than keep women waiting)
- To prevent exhaustion and to manage my own work / life balance