Farshad and Maryam (parents of Melika, 16 months)
Maryam: Giving birth in Australia has been incredible for us and it’s been very empowering for me and it’s helped me increase my confidence and I think for Farshad it’s meant that he’s been able to be much more involved than he would’ve been if we weren’t in Australia.
Yasna Meldrum (midwife, counsellor): When you find out that you’re pregnant it’s an exciting time and what you want for yourself usually is to have a healthy mother, or to be healthy and have a healthy baby as well. And it’s not just about your medical needs, it’s also about your emotional, your spiritual, all the other needs that might be important for you that you think need to be met in your pregnancy.
Maryam: We tried to look for several doctors that would be able to help us experience the birth as we planned or liked.
Yasna Meldrum: Parents when they’re new to Australia probably are best I think advised to visit a maternity hospital or to see a local doctor in the first instance to be able to just point them into the right direction of where to go and get pregnancy care. For migrants probably the best place would be a public maternity hospital where the services are all there and it’s a bit of a one-stop-shop where they can see a midwife, they can see doctors, they can have their pathology done onsite, their radiology for instance ultrasounds. There are also community health centres that cater specifically for migrants too.
Moe (mother of Mangtong, 2 years, and Kohoe, 9 months): When I was pregnant I have to go to my family doctor, he checked for me and then he referred to the hospital. They sent the letter to me and I have to go the first appointment and every 2 months or 1 month.
Yasna Meldrum: If you book in early into your pregnancy you actually go through a whole range of visits that are recommended in terms of getting the best outcomes for mother and for baby, so generally about 10 to 13 visits for a non-complex pregnancy, and if there are complications that arise later than they’ll have more visits scheduled.
Moe: I can ask what I want to know, yeah, so they are good. Also they said to me how to live and how to drink, how to eat, so how to care my unborn child.
Yasna Meldrum: We know that a lot of problems can be picked up early and prevented or perhaps treated during the course of the pregnancy so that there is a better outcome for mothers and babies. You can take whoever you like to your appointments and it’s a good idea to have somebody with you because sometimes you might be feeling anxious about something so the other person will hear the information and be able to convey that back to you.
Maryam: It’s very important to ask questions and we found that the health care professionals in Australia were very, very good at explaining everything to you and giving you that time and respect to explain everything to you and give you choice where it is possible.
Moe: So before I give birth ‘You will need this and that’, so I have to prepare for that.
Yasna Meldrum: It’s important to know that there is help available and it might be via the midwife who’s caring for you if you are engaged in the midwifery group practice, it might be through your GP, it might be through your obstetrician. So they are people that you can call on in between those antenatal appointments as well. Emergency departments, whilst they’re there, are not really designed for the more common problems that occur in pregnancy, however certainly if there is any bleeding or there’s anything that’s really quite serious then definitely the emergency department is where to go to, but in between times try and access midwives, your GPs, your obstetrician, all the other people that are caring for you in your pregnancy. Those appointments are also a place where you can share the sometimes really difficult things that might be happening for you in your family life too. For instance where there might be some family violence or there are perhaps some mental health issues or other issues that require more attention and more support, those appointments are an important place where those things can be discussed too. The information that’s shared in those appointment times is actually very confidential, so it’s only shared really amongst the health professionals that are directly involved in your care.