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Obstetricians and homebirth

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What is an obstetrician?

An obstetrician is a medical doctor with special training and skills in the health of mothers and babies during pregnancy, birth and straight after birth. This training usually takes an extra six years on top of a basic medical degree.

Obstetricians have special skills to manage the more difficult and complex medical aspects of pregnancy and childbirth.

An obstetrician’s role during pregnancy

If any health problems come up, your homebirth midwife or GP might refer you to a hospital obstetrician for a consultation. If there are concerns about your health or your baby’s health, an obstetrician might recommend that you don’t go ahead with a homebirth.

An obstetrician’s role at the birth

Obstetricians aren't usually involved in homebirths.

If you or your baby needs extra medical care for complications – for example, a forceps birth or caesarean – you’ll go to hospital. An obstetrician will manage any problems and do special procedures.

An obstetrician’s role after the birth

You’re not likely to see an obstetrician after the birth, unless you have any complications or need special medical care.

Choosing an obstetrician

Obstetricians aren't usually part of homebirth pregnancy care and birth, unless there’s a problem and you need to go to hospital. If you’re in a publicly funded homebirth program, an obstetrician might do a quick review to check that everything’s OK.

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