This page is designed to answer some of the most common questions people have about obstetric care with me, Dr Phoebe Hong.
If you have a specific question, please phone the practice on (07) 4230 0030.
Do I need a referral?
If you would like to claim the Medicare rebate for your appointment, you will need a referral letter, which you can request from your GP.
You can still make an appointment without a referral letter, though you will need to pay the full fee out of pocket.
Which hospital do you attend?
How often do I need to see you during my pregnancy?
I typically see you when you’re around 10 weeks pregnant. Then, I will see you every 4 weeks until you reach 28 weeks pregnant.
From 28 to 36 weeks, I will see you every 2 weeks, and then I will see you weekly until your baby arrives.
We will also schedule a postnatal appointment around 6 weeks after the birth of your baby.
On average, you will need to have around 13 appointments with me.
If you pregnancy is complicated or high-risk, we may need to adjust this schedule and have more frequent appointments.
Do I need to have a full bladder for my appointments?
You don’t need to have a full bladder before your obstetric appointments. An empty bladder doesn’t make it more difficult for me to see your baby on an ultrasound.
I know how uncomfortable it is to have a full bladder when you are pregnant – not to mention not using the bathroom! So, I certainly do not expect you to arrive with a full bladder.
However, if you are 12 weeks pregnant or less, I do ask that you have a drink of water when you arrive at the practice – so your bladder is partially filled.
What is your fee structure?
There are two types of fees for my obstetric care:
- Regular antenatal appointments: Our policy requires you to pay these after every appointment and you will get some back from the Medicare. (Note: Private health insurance does not provide any rebate for regular antenatal appointments.)
- Pregnancy management fee: The pregnancy management fee is a one-off fee charged at 20 weeks. Medicare will cover a portion of this fee, and there will be a ‘gap’ payment that you will need to pay. Most private health insurers don’t provide a rebate for this fee. We advised you to contact your insurer to find out if there is any rebate available.
The pregnancy management fee is Medicare item 16590. It is introduced by the Government to help counter the extensive costs incurred by all obstetricians (insurance premiums as well as day-to-day running expenses). This fee enables me to provide personalised, 24/7 care for you.
To view our current fee schedule for patients with private health insurance, please click HERE. If you don’t have private health insurance, please phone our practice to discuss our current fees.
Do I need private health insurance?
I have a “No Gap” arrangements with most Private Health Funds for deliveries and obstetric hospital admissions. We will bill directly to your private health insurance, so there is no out-of-pocket fees for your hospital admissions during your pregnancy and delivery – regardless of whether you have a vaginal delivery or a caesarean section.
It is not essential for you to have private health insurance to see me for management of your pregnancy.
If you don’t have private health insurance and finding the cost to deliver at Cairns Private Hospital too high, you can have shared care at Cairns Hospital. If you choose this option, you would see me for your pregnancy care but deliver with Cairns Hospital.
As every private health fund has slightly different terms, it is important to check your level of cover and inclusions with your health fund. Most health funds have waiting periods for obstetrics.
Some types of cover (e.g. singles cover), may not include your baby if he or she needs admission to the hospital after birth. Family cover should cover your baby, but it is best to check with your insurer.
What are my fees if I don’t have private health insurance?
If you don’t have private health insurance, you will need to pay for the appointment fees and the delivery fee. You will receive the Medicare rebate if you are eligible, but no additional rebate.
Please phone our practice to discuss our current fees.
What other expenses might I incur?
In addition to your obstetric fees, you may need to pay for:
- Paediatrician services: for your newborn baby’s health check at the hospital
- Anaesthetist services: if you need an epidural or caesarean section or surgical procedure during the birth of your baby
- Surgical assistance: if you need to have a caesarean section
- Associated hospital fees: only applicable if you do not have private health insurance
It is important to discuss your private health insurance with your insurer, so you are aware of the inclusions and limitations in your cover.
Who will deliver my baby if you can’t get there on time?
I do my best to attend all deliveries, but there may be times when I may not be able to deliver your baby, such as:
- Your labour and delivery progresses too quickly for me to attend
- I am on leave or attending a conference
- I am performing an operation
If your birth progresses too quickly for me to make it there on time, there will be hospital midwives ready to assist.
If obstetrician input is needed, and I am not available, one of the obstetricians within the ‘on call’ group will be contacted.
Who will deliver my baby if I go into labour on your day off?
Three other obstetricians and I share a 1 in 4 weekend ‘on call’ roster from Friday 12 p.m. to 8 a.m. Monday. If your labour starts during this time, the ‘on call’ obstetrician will be called to attend your delivery.
The obstetricians who I share the ‘on call’ rosters with are:
- Dr Thomas Wright
- Dr Natalie Kiesey-Calding
- Dr Elizabeth Jackson
This group of obstetricians and I have a joint arrangement to support one another. This arrangement helps us to continue to provide high-quality care for our patients (and it prevents us from becoming overtired or overworked).
Please note: the pregnancy care management fee is not refundable, whether or not I am personally available to deliver your baby.
Do I need to pay more if another obstetrician delivers my baby?
No, you won’t need to pay any additional obstetric fees if another obstetrician in my ‘on call’ group delivers your baby.
If you do not have private health insurance, all members of the ‘on call’ group mutually agree to honour the fee originally set by the principle obstetrician – so there won’t be any surprises.
When should I contact the Hospital Maternity Unit?
It’s very important to contact the Cairns Private Hospital Maternity Unit or our practice if:
- Your labour starts
- Your waters break
- You suspect your waters may have broken
- You have any bleeding
- You are concerned about your baby’s movement
We understand you may hesitate to contact us as you do not want to overreact – but we want you to feel comfortable contacting the practice whenever you have a question or are feeling unsure or anxious.
As your private obstetrician, I am here to help, and I believe it’s always best to err on the side of caution and follow your gut instinct. If ever in doubt, please phone the practice or hospital.
Can I phone you between appointments if I have a question about my pregnancy?
If you would like to speak with me, you can phone the practice on (07) 4230 0030.
If I can’t answer your call at the time, I will return it as soon as possible. You can also email: email@example.com
If you need to contact me after hours or in an emergency, please phone the Maternity Unit at Cairns Private Hospital on (07) 4052 4232 and ask to speak to the midwife on duty.
What should I bring to the hospital?
Going to the hospital, whether planned or in an emergency, can be an emotional time. You may need to leave quickly.
That’s why it’s important to try and pack you bag several weeks in advance.
If you’re not sure what to bring, here’s a list of my suggestion:
- Your pregnancy handheld record
- Loose, comfortable clothing for labour (bear in mind this may get messy during labour)
- Spare pairs of underwear
- Toiletries including chap stick, hair tie, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and toothbrush
- Comfortable clothes for day and night
- 2 to 3 maternity bras
- Nursing pads
- Underwear and footwear
- A packet of maternity sanitary pads
For your baby
- 6 newborn singlets
- 6 newborn jumpsuits
- 6 to 8 bunny-rugs or small cotton blankets
- 1 to 2 small beanie or hat
- Socks/ booties
- 3 face washers for baby bath
Other items to consider
- Favourite music
- Chargers for your electronic devices
- Snacks – lollies, muesli bars
- Bottles and formula (if you are planning on formula feed)
- Baby car seat for discharge (mandatory)
It’s best not to bring valuable personal items to the hospital
If you would like to make an appointment to discuss your pregnancy, please phone the practice on (07) 4230 0030.