theonlywayismelbourne

Blogging from Down Under

The pregnancy experience – OZ vs UK

So I am not sure(!) if you are aware but I am currently with-child and about to give birth in the not so distant future.!!!

This will be the first baby that I have had Down Under as the Bear was born in the UK. So I thought I would share with you my experiences of pregnancy here so far compared to back in the UK.

First things first – When we first found out that we were going to be having a baby I did the same as I did in the UK. Went to the GP to confirm it. I had
2 very different experiences at this stage.

image

Image courtesy of Craftyjoe at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In my last pregnancy the GP couldn’t have been less interested, there was no ‘congratulations’ or any of that touchy feely stuff at all. I distinctly remember him telling me :-

“Well there’s a long way to go yet, there is still a lot that could go wrong”
Talk about bedside manner!

He then basically said , “so you’ll be having the baby at (my local) hospital then?” Given that I wasn’t actually made aware that I had a choice in which hospital I went to I agreed. (Not that it was a bad hospital – I just wasn’t told that I could choose where I wanted to go).
At that point my 5 minute appointment was up and as he rose to usher me out of the room I was left to garble my remaining questions to him while edging backwards out of the room.
The crux of his brief answers where that the hospital would be in touch with me about a 12 week scan and I wouldn’t hear anything else until then.
As I was by this time outside in the corridor I wandered outside in a bit of a daze considering the fact that nothing else was going to happen for a good couple of months.

Compare that to my first visit to the GP here in Melbourne and I was surprised by how different it was. The GP went through all my dates with me, even said congratulations to me – can you believe it?
And then proceeded to refer me to the imaging centre for a 6 week scan. Apparently they are standard procedure here to ensure that you are carrying in utero and not an ectopic pregnancy (in the fallopian tubes for the scientific amongst you).
She then started asking me all sorts of questions about if I was going to go public or private and had I chosen a hospital and an obstetrician at that point. Again all a bit overwhelming but for very different reasons to my 1st pregnancy.

Apparently at nearly 6 weeks pregnant, I had left it pretty late to choose an obstetrician so needed to get going on finding one straight away. As my GP was new to the area she wasn’t able to recommend one and as I had had no experience of this since moving Down Under it was basically a case of her printing a list of names and me choosing the one I liked the sound of and then contacting them.
It didn’t stop there though as I also had to choose the hospital that I wanted to go to. Again because I had only recently moved it was a pick a name out of the hat jobby.

So in the first few weeks after learning I was pregnant, I was pretty much thrown into making choices with not very much information and trying to find out if we were privately covered and just what we were entitled to with Medicare. It was pretty full on and there were lots of frantic phone calls in the early days attempting to get our care sorted out.

In some ways it was good but in others it was hard to get my head round everything with being so new to the system and it did sometimes feel that I had a bit too much choice. In the UK it was basically a case of ‘get what you are given’. Which in my case turned out ok but could have been very different.

Another difference was that here the scans are done at imaging centres and they have to be paid for which you can then claim back from Medicare after the event. As opposed to in the Uk were all the scans are done at the hospital and, if memory serves me correctly after ones initial GP ‘consultation’ your care is handed over to a midwife until you are nearing the end of the pregnancy.

I was pretty impressed throughout my pregnancy that at each routine appointment I had with my obstetrician who was my only care provider, he had a nifty little sonogram machine in his office meaning that at each appointment he would give me a little scan. It was great as it put my mind at rest as I could see the baby and hear the heartbeat on a much more regular basis and the OB was able to do some pretty accurate measurements from everything from the size of the baby to how much amniotic fluid was surrounding it, which meant I didn’t worry half as much as I did through my 1st pregnancy. It was all very re-assuring.

imageI have also noticed that here in Oz they do a lot more tests than in the UK. Besides the usual blood tests, they also test for gestational diabetes which I am pretty sure they didn’t in the Uk. I had to drink this sugary drink and then hang around after going all dizzy because of it. Pretty sure I didn’t have that in the Uk.
Besides that they also test for Streptococcus (Strep B) towards the end so that if I show signs of having it they can treat me with antibiotics throughout labour to protect the baby.

It seems to be all about finding out ahead of time here and dealing with it before it happens if they can.

As I am yet to give birth, I can’t tell you how the actual labour hospital in-patient thing differs just yet but when I get the chance I will fill you in.

Until next time – I’m still pregnant!

2nd Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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13 thoughts on “The pregnancy experience – OZ vs UK

  1. Russell on said:

    Not long to go now Rhe, looking forward to meeting the new niece or nephew :)

  2. Congrats!! There are lots of local Doulas in Melbourne and stacks of friends have had their babies there – I can promise the good stories are a lot more than the bad :)

  3. Wow it’s so different over there isn’t it? It makes the UK look a bit Victorian in how they do things (I wonder if it probably is!). I did gave the gestational diabetes check but I think they only give it to people that may be at high risk.

    • Yes maybe that’s the case Tas, or maybe it depends on where you live? Don’t get me wrong I am not dissing the NHS at all, it is a fabulous service where everything is free (although for how long who knows), it was just interesting to experience the differences. X

  4. We have a pretty good healthcare system here. I’ve gone public with both of mine (I forgot to upgrade my health cover with my first so had no choice) & had the best experience. My kiwi mate who has just relocated to the UK where she had her second. I couldn’t believe it when her FB update said that she was admitted to hospital at 10am, gave birth at 1 & was home by 4! X

  5. Elie on said:

    I did all of those tests in the UK btw

  6. Aline on said:

    I think they introduced that test recently. All my friends in the UK who had babies this year had to do the test. Good luck with everything. Can’t wait to hear the “compare birth experience UK v OZ” story.

  7. Oh that’s good Aline – it makes sense to do it I think. Look forward to sharing some news soon. X

  8. Pingback: Giving Birth Down Under – 10 differences between UK and OZ | theonlywayismelbourne

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