(03) 9416 2802
(03) 9495 6491
Suite 207, 320 Victoria Parade
East Melbourne, VIC 3002
My private consulting rooms are located on the ground floor of the Epworth Freemasons Day Procedure and Maternity Centre in East Melbourne.
Underground parking is available for a fee. There is also limited on-street metered parking in the area.
The number 12 and 109 trams stop right outside the building, and the number 11 and 30 tram stop is a 5 minute walk away.
The number buses also stop right outside the building.
Train access is via Parliament station, which is a 10 minute walk away
MBBS, FRANZCOG, CMFM, DDU
If you have any questions or enquiries please feel free to contact us on the following details provided below or alternatively you can complete our online enquiry form also located below and we will get back to you as soon as possible...
(03) 9416 2802
Suite 207, 320 Victoria Parade, East Melbourne
Welcome to my “Let’s Talk” Blog. The idea behind “Let’s Talk” is to answer some of the more common questions people ask about pregnancy and pregnancy care. “Let’s Talk” also aims to provide information on some of the more interesting or challenging issues that women who are pregnant or planning for pregnancy may face.
I thought we would start at the very beginning, so today:
Let’s talk…. About what an obstetrician does.
Obstetricians are doctors who specialise in caring for pregnant women – including pre-pregnancy planning, pregnancy care, care during birth, and care of the mother for the weeks following birth.
In Australia, doctors who want to become obstetricians must first gain entry to the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG), where they will complete a 6-year training program. Training involves supervised practice, study and examinations, as well as in-depth research. With satisfactory completion of all aspects of training, a doctor will graduate as a Fellow of RANZCOG, and will be both a qualified obstetrician and a gynaecologist, or as they are known in the USA - an OBGYN.
Gynaecologists are experts in women’s health, including managing problems related to menstruation, infertility, pelvic pain, menopause, and bladder and pelvic floor problems. Obstetricians still specialise in women’s health but are instead experts in managing all aspects of pregnancy, including both low and high-risk pregnancies. Obstetricians are the only professionals who have the training and skill to look after all aspects of pregnancy. This includes managing complications that may arise, as well as looking after women in labour and where necessary, performing instrumental vaginal deliveries and caesarean sections. Many qualified specialists work as both obstetricians and gynaecologists, while others choose to focus specifically on either obstetric (pregnancy) care, or on certain aspects of gynaecology.
I have chosen to devote all my time and energy into being an obstetrician, specialising in caring for women during pregnancy. Focussing on this single role enables me to provide the highest quality of care, and to stay up to date with current research and emerging trends. I have also done additional training and am qualified as a specialist in Maternal-Fetal Medicine, meaning that I am trained and experienced in managing even the most complicated pregnancies.
When caring for pregnant women, obstetricians are required to be experts in many different areas. Obstetricians need to be empathic, sensitive care providers and communicators who are respectful of women’s birth choices. For many women, having a baby is one of the most significant moments of their lives, and something they have spent a lot of time thinking about and preparing for. Obstetricians aim to provide safe care, while also facilitating wherever possible a positive, empowering birth experience for the women being cared for.
At the same time, obstetricians are always highly aware of possible pregnancy complications and are ready to respond as necessary. During the pregnancy this could include increasing the level of monitoring of the mother or baby, recommending certain medications, or choosing to bring the birth on earlier. In labour, obstetricians are sometimes required to intervene to ensure that a mother and baby are both safe. This could include helping to deliver the baby more quickly if it is distressed, performing a caesarean section, or managing other problems such as high blood pressure or heavy bleeding.
Many people think about pregnancies as being either low risk pregnancies or high risk pregnancies, however this is somewhat of an over-simplification. Most pregnancies progress smoothly and lead to the birth of healthy babies. But even pregnancies that are seemingly low risk initially can develop complications requiring intervention. Conversely, often pregnancies that are thought of as higher risk can usually result in very normal outcomes with the right approach to monitoring and timely interventions. Obstetricians are trained to expertly manage both low risk pregnancies and high risk pregnancies. Good obstetricians are able to tailor their care and interventions to suit the needs and circumstances of the women they are caring for. No pregnancy is “standard”, and experienced obstetricians ensure that pregnancy care is always “bespoke”.
Obstetricians usually work in tandem with midwives, who are skilled at supporting women through pregnancy and birth and managing pregnancies that are deemed uncomplicated. Whilst obstetricians and midwives usually work together, this can take many different forms, from predominantly obstetrician-led care to midwife-led care. I believe that women benefit greatly from having the skills and knowledge of an experienced obstetrician, combined with the support of caring midwives. It is for this reason that in my practice I have two experienced and caring midwives working alongside me to provide truly comprehensive, holistic care to pregnant women.
The birth of a child can arise at any moment, so obstetricians are required to be available 24 hours per day, all year round. In public hospitals this generally means that obstetricians work in shifts, and often means that women may not have met or formed a relationship with the doctors caring for them in labour. Having a private obstetrician allows women to form a trusting relationship over the course of their pregnancies, and generally means that the doctor will also be responsible for delivering the baby. This means private obstetricians are usually always on call for their patients or will arrange alternative suitable cover if they need to have some time off. In public hospitals it is often not possible to have the same level of personal relationship with an obstetrician.
Many obstetricians consider obstetrics a calling rather than just a job. The long hours, middle of the night births, and emotional rewards and challenges of caring for women, babies and families throughout their pregnancy and birth journeys certainly requires a huge commitment. Despite its challenges, I think it’s the best job in the world!
Dr Stephen Cole, Specialist Obstetrician
Since 2001, I have been an obstetrician in East Melbourne providing care for women with both low and high-risk pregnancies. As an MFM (Maternal-Fetal Medicine) specialist, I see women with a wide range of pregnancy situations. The odds are that your pregnancy will be low risk and go smoothly; however, should complications arise, you can be confident that I am well equipped to handle even the most high-risk pregnancies and unexpected complications. Private hospitals where I work include Epworth Freemasons, Frances Perry House, and St. Vincent’s Private. I strive to provide woman-centred care, and I am supportive of my patients’ choices. Many obstetricians claim to be “high risk” specialists, but only MFM specialists have undergone the training and assessment needed to manage all pregnancies, from the simplest through the most complex. Please contact me with any questions or concerns on (03) 9495 6411 or via my online contact form.