Make this your top task as a soon-to-be mama!
For the next nine months, as you grow the little person inside you, you’re going to have to find a doctor who you trust and respect. After all, he or she will be almost as important as your partner and responsible for your health and wellbeing, along with your precious baby’s. Even it’s not for delivery, you will need to find a good doctor for your annual health checkup and any issues related to menstruation, fertility, sexual health, etc. Here’s what to consider when deciding on an obstetrician-gynaecologist in Hong Kong.
Public Or Private?
One of the first decisions to make when you’re pregnant in Hong Kong is whether to opt for a public hospital birth or a private one. If you are planning to deliver in a public hospital, you don’t get to choose your obstetrician, but most doctors in the public health system are highly qualified.
For those plugged into the public health sector, it is important to get registered at the nearest public hospital right after pregnancy detection. For the first appointment, you have to head to the public hospital in your area. Once a doctor understands your overall health and medical history, they will either refer you to the local Maternal and Child Health Centres for subsequent check-ups or to a higher public hospital if the pregnancy is high-risk.
Given the large volume of patients these doctors treat in a day, they do not have the luxury of time to answer all your questions. Nurses will hand out more reading material, but it may a bit difficult to read and digest all that information. The public system itself gets less daunting with each check-up, but it does take a lot of time. That’s why many people choose to opt for public hospital births but do scans and check-ups with private practitioners.
Whether you’re supplementing your public hospital checks with private ones or opting to give birth in a private hospital, you’re in luck! Hong Kong has more than 450 registered Ob/Gyns – that means there’s plenty of options for making an informed choice.
Tips To Choose A Obstetrician In Hong Kong
For a lot of families, minimising any out-of-pocket expenses is of utmost significance. If your insurance provider works with certain medical practices, start by looking at their doctors. After that, make a list of the qualities that matter to you. These could be gender (some may prefer a female doctor while it may not be an issue with others), qualifications, reputation, fees, experience or access to the hospital of your choice. Once you have narrowed down the list, then use the following tips to zero in on a specialist:
1. Look For Recommendations And Bedside Manners
Scan online forums, testimonials, reviews and credentials of the doctors you’re interested in. Read their official websites, call their offices to check how soon they give out appointments, enquire about consultation fees and take advice from friends and acquaintances.
Schedule an introductory appointment with the specialist of your choice. It may not give you clear answers, but first impressions and gut feelings matter. Observe the doctor’s bedside manners. A doctor with whom you can be upfront about worries, one who answers your questions thoroughly and has the magic mix of knowledge and compassion to soothe any nerves is the best doctor for you and the baby. Even after the first visit, keep this in mind through your pregnancy. Consider a new doctor if your current one does not have the expertise or experience to deal with complications at any stage in your pregnancy. If they brush aside your concerns, it’s all the more reason to get another specialist.
2. Have A Birth Plan
You won’t have one as soon as you find out you’re pregnant (unless it’s not your first). But you will have a broad idea of what you want and don’t (natural birth, C-section, V-BAC, etc.). Through your antenatal checkups, reiterate these with your doctor. While you would have probably chosen your obstetrician based on what you’d heard of him or her, if you find that your wishes aren’t being respected (even enough to explain why they may not be feasible), chances are the obstetrician isn’t the right one for you.
There is no sure-shot way of giving birth and your obstetrician may have to change direction, depending on how the pregnancy and labour progress. But if things are on track, it’s integral that the doctor is on board with all your wishes, be it for the birth or post-delivery plan.
3. Check The Doctor’s Availability And Accessibility
Doctors are busy, no doubt, but if they aren’t likely to be available when you need them, they aren’t right for you. This might happen for a variety of reasons. If you are a high-risk patient, if it’s second baby, etc., you may expect to have shorter labour or more immediate assistance. A doctor who can get to the hospital you’re booked into faster than others will be an advantage. Babies rarely follow a schedule (unless it’s a planned C-section), but check your doctor’s holiday calendar close to your due date (especially if it’s around Christmas or the summer holidays). If there is a chance that your doctor could be travelling, make sure you find out which doctor would be taking his or her place. Through your pregnancy, try to get a couple of appointments with this doctor as well to gauge your comfort with him/her.
What To Keep In Mind During Your Obstetrician Visits
- All private doctors, and especially obstetricians, are expensive in Hong Kong. A single consultation could cost $1,000 to $1,500, minus the tests and scans. Don’t squander away the opportunity to ask important questions because you were ill-prepared.
- Make notes of all the questions lest you forget.
- If some questions make you uncomfortable, get your partner to ask them instead.
- Get the complete lowdown on the birth costs. Contrary to some countries, the fee structure is not always transparent in Hong Kong. The hospital charges here are often not inclusive of the doctor’s and anesthesiologists’ fees.
- Ask about the doctor’s preferred support team of anesthesiologists and paediatricians and check reviews about them as well. If you are unhappy about either one, talk to your doctor about bringing someone else on board.
- Consider the accessibility of the support team when making any decision about working with them.
Obstetricians, Medical Practices Amd Maternity Hospitals In Hong Kong
There are plenty of reputed private clinics and practitioners in the city and narrowing down on one will require a fair deal of work. While doing your initial research, take a look at this exhaustive list from Healthy Matters.
If you are looking at private hospitals for your delivery, you can consider one of the following:
Editor’s note: This post was originally published by Sassy Mama on 19, September 2016 and updated on 6, April 2020.