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Prenatal Care

How do I arrange to pay the obstetrician to deliver my baby? During the first visit to the obstetrician you will be required to provide detailed information about your insurance coverage so that the obstetrician can determine how much your insurance will cover and how much you must pay yourself. The amount you will owe (the entire amount if you are uninsured) must often be paid to the obstetricians require monthly payments rather than allow you to pay the entire amount in the seventh month.

How is the hospital paid? Once the obstetrician accepts you as a patient, the obstetrician will send you to the hospital where the baby will be delivered. The hospital may then require a cash deposit or some form of periodic payments. If the obstetrician has accepted you as a patient, the hospital will usually admit you, even if you do not meet their usual financial standards. You may also have to arrange for an anesthesiologist.

How does the obstetrician charge for services? The obstetrician provides two services: prenatal care (before the baby is born), and the delivery of the baby. Ask for an itemized bill for these services so that you can figure your refund if you must change physicians.

What if I want to have a "natural" childbirth? You must discuss exactly what you want with your physician at the very beginning of the physician-patient relationship. You must reach a clear understanding about all aspects of the delivery that are important to you. If you change your mind at the last minute, or wait too long to discuss things with your physician, it might cause difficulties in making arrangements. If your obstetrician does not want to handle a "natural" delivery, the obstetrician will often recommend someone who will. You should ask your obstetrician to make certain that the hospital to be used has no rules preventing such a delivery.

Do I have a right to a "natural" delivery? No. You cannot force an obstetrician to deliver the baby your way, or force a hospital to allow a delivery against its rules. To avoid any misunderstandings, discuss the procedures you and your obstetrician have agreed upon with the hospital when you are preadmitted. You should get a clear agreement from the hospital to the procedures you have decided upon. Ask the hospital to write this in your preadmittance papers. Again, this should be done at the very beginning to avoid confusion and last-minute problems.

Do I have a right to have someone in the delivery room with me? No. You cannot insist upon this if your obstetrician or hospital disagrees. You should also discuss this with your obstetrician at the very start and reach an understanding on the matter. Have this requirement included in your hospital preadmittance record.

What if I want the baby in the room with me "rooming in"? You must discuss this desire with your obstetrician, and make certain that the obstetrician will admit you to an appropriate hospital. This is a matter of hospital policy, and the obstetrician may have to deliver you at a different hospital that allows "rooming in." This should also be put into the preadmittance information.

What if I want to change obstetrician?" Most obstetricians will not accept patients after the seventh month of pregnancy. You should make sure you have found a new obstetrician before you leave or release your original obstetrician.

What is a "high risk" pregnancy? A high risk pregnancy is one in which there is a medical condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, that endangers your health or your baby's health.

How does a high risk pregnancy affect my rights? Certain hospitals, called regional centers, have special facilities to handle high risk deliveries and to care for sick newborns. It is much safer to transport a pregnancy woman to a regional hospital than to transfer the baby after delivery. You should discuss this with your obstetrician. The obstetrician can either send you to the center to be delivered or ask for emergency privileges (usually granted if a staff member of the facility attends the birth) and deliver you there personally. In certain very complicated cases, the center will insist upon having you attended by a properly qualified person on its staff.

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