We are all abuzz at FGHG with news of an exciting new collaboration with Obstetrician & Gynaecologist Dr.Sushen Naidoo, who will be consulting from Fertile Ground Health Group from November 2017.
Whilst we have long collaborated with our patients’ primary medical carers and pride ourselves on being in communication with them whenever needed, working alongside an empathetic obstetrician who we know and trust is going to be an absolute bonus for everyone coming to FGHG.
The opportunity for education and information sharing amongst practitioners at FGHG has always been a contributing factor to our inspired practice and most importantly, better health outcomes for our patients. Now with Sushen practicing from our rooms we bring another dimension to the collaboration.
There is also just the simple convenience of having all your needs met in one location so there is less running around between appointments – phew!
By way of introduction we thought we’d let the charming Dr Sush do his own talking. Here he is talking to us about his practice, his work ethic and his hopes and dreams for patients and the future.
I understand the name Naidoo has some history in the gynaecological/obstetric world?
Yes my dad, Jan Naidoo was an O&G who worked for almost 30 years in Melbourne’s West, so I’ve grown up with maternity and women’s health. He retired recently and I’m actually going to be consulting from his old rooms in Keilor as well, which will be nice.
I decided to call my webpage and practice, “Next Generation Obstetrics Gynaecology and Fertility”, which is a nice allusion to Dad, and also to a more open minded philosophy to health care.
Do you think growing up with a dad who is an obstetrician kind of normalised birth for you in some way?
Yeah I think it did. I remember being dragged to the hospital as a kid, when my dad had to go in for a delivery. So I think I understood even at an early age that my dad did something special.
Other doctors often say you must be mad to do obstetrics after seeing your dad be on call your whole life!
But I think it was only when I starting my training that I realised how amazing the relationship between the Obstetrician and the mother is, and how this is the most rewarding interaction you can have in medicine.
Now that I have become a specialist, my dad and I have a great bond, and he is the first one I call to discuss an interesting case or to discuss my plans for private practice. His reputation in Melbourne was exemplary, so it is very special to follow in his footsteps.
Where have you been working prior to setting up in private practice here in East Melbourne?
I trained at Monash Medical Centre and completed my advanced training in Sydney, with a special interest in Laparoscopic surgery.
I also worked and travelled last year in regional Australia, working as a Consultant in Darwin, Rockhampton and Launceston.
This was an invaluable experience clinically, and gave me an opportunity to explore and have a few adventures before starting in Private. I needed a break after the long period of training, and I really feel that now I have the energy and passion to build a great practice in Melbourne.
This year, I have been covering for some great specialists in the city, and working at the Royal Women’s Hospital and the Northern Hospital, and have begun consulting in North Melbourne and Keilor, in addition to FGHG.
How do you think private practice will be different from working within the public system?
I don’t think my approach will differ greatly, I feel like I’ve been waiting to have “my own” patients all these years in training.
Often in a public clinic you only encounter patients sporadically or by chance. The nature of public work is that you may not see patients again, or have the opportunity to be involved in their birth.
I feel now that I really can’t wait for the continuity of care that comes with private practice. I covered for a colleague for 2 weeks earlier this year, and even within this very short period I was amazed at how rewarding and wonderful the continuity actually was.
In the last few years many of my friends have started their families and I have readily made myself available for advice or opinion on their pregnancy. Often my friends will ask whether it’s a drag discussing pregnancy outside of work. It is never ever a burden, it’s an absolute pleasure to be able to really help people I know and care for.
These are the type of relationships I hope to foster with my own patients. I want to be excited to see my patients at each visit, and for them to look forward to seeing me.
And my hope to be then involved in the care of families long after I meet their babies.
Everyone at Fertile Ground Health Group is pretty excited to have you working with us. It sounds like you are open to collaborating with natural approaches to support women in pregnancy and birth? What do you think the benefits are?
I think I’ve always been open minded and have had the philosophy that as long as there is no risk for the patient, I’m willing to support their choices.
I was introduced to FGHG by my sister Yudhika, who had worked there for many years as a musculoskeletal and massage therapist. She always said that FGHG was an amazing multi disciplinary team, that does amazing things with their patients.
When I met Charmaine and the team, I felt we definitely had the right philosophy, connection and energy to work together. Working in collaboration with FGHG I aim to learn about aspects of complementary medicine that I am ignorant of and hopefully we can develop approaches that provide the best information for me, for FGHG practitioners and most importantly for our shared patients.
To me, the idea of collaboration and learning through an integrative approach to patient care, between complementary fertility practitioners and an Obstetrician is an achievable goal in Women’s health. There are historical barriers to this – there is still that notion of an “ us and them” mentality that perpetuates between complementary and conventional medicine. I think there is a distinct ignorance of what CM practitioners actually do, and I think better communication can help resolve this.
I’m hopeful that our new partnership can highlight these many benefits, so that our patients can get the best of both worlds, and we can show that collaboration is actually what women want.
When you consider the remarkably high rate of women under the care of a complementary medicine practitioner for fertility,( around 45%) it is clear that collaboration and better communication between providers is essential for safer and better health outcomes.
I also have an interest in supporting both women and their partners with perinatal anxiety and depression. Having spent time with the team at FGHG , its clearly evident that pratitioners from each CM speciality have a wealth of experience and insight into helping their patients with anxiety and depression. This is certainly true of our infertile clients, many of whom go on to healthy pregnancies and l still rely on their CM practitioner for psychological support.
In pregnancy, patients are commonly reluctant to take medications, and the management of anxiety and depression can be a challenge. Each CM speciality at can offer a unique potential benefit for a patient’s psychological wellbeing. Hence this is the perfect situation to encourage a holistic and collaborative approach and certainly at FGHG we can embrace this together.
What do you think is the most important element in your relationship with your patients? What do you hope for them? How do you get there?
Trust is the most important element, as most of what I do during the pregnancy is reassure mothers. I feel my strength as a communicator and my temperament ensure meaningful, informative and reassuring consultations. It has always been a pleasure to see anxious and stressed couples leave a consultation feeling more informed and confident.
Every step of the pregnancy journey can be stressful, and this can exacerbated when combined with a lack of understanding or poor communication with your doctor.
My hope for my couples is for them to truly enjoy their pregnancy and to look forward to our consultations together, knowing they can ask me anything, and be reassured when needed and then feel secure and supported, confident under my care. This culminates in us sharing a safe and rewarding birthing experience, where my patient’s choices are well informed and supported.
Every patient you meet is unique. So you have to take an individualised and respectful approach to get them through their birthing experience.
Birth plans don’t always go to script, and this can sometimes be devastating to a woman and her partner.
My job is to use the trust built over the whole journey, to guide and support them through these challenges. And again communication is vital to achieve this.
What are your top recommendations for women during their pregnancy to optimise their health/birth outcomes?
General good health principles are a must. A healthy balanced diet and some exercise is important, as well as good pregnancy vitamins in the first trimester.
I would not be too worried about weight gain. The focus in the antenatal period is on your baby’s growth, not your weight, everyone is different with weight. For some patients with a high BMI it may actually be beneficial to have static weight or even some loss in pregnancy.
I think if your diet is an issue, then certainly input from a Naturopath can certainly be useful.
My biggest tip to new mothers is to be open minded and flexible.
Its great to read, prepare, plan, and have a clear idea of what you want your birth to be like, but the classic cliché for pregnancy and birth is that “ we don’t have a crystal ball”.
Its ok to get an epidural if you need one, even if you were certain you weren’t going to, and its equally ok to not get one, if you’re coping well, even if you were certain you’d need it.
Everyone’s labour is different, and not always predictable, that’s what makes my job so interesting.
I do believe in the power of positive thinking, preparation and having the right mind set for labour and birthing. Thinking about your breathing and being in the right mind set before labour starts can be very helpful for coping with your labour.
There are great resources such as Hypno birthing and Calm birth, and of course the wonderful Rhea Dempsey does classes at FGHG.
I am also a fan of Juju Sundin’s book Birth Skills. As well as Rhea’s birthing book “Birth With Confidence”.
Also I can only see benefits from massage in pregnancy, which I’m going to encourage for all my patients.
What do you wish men knew about birth before they came into the birthing room with their partners?
Another common phone call from friends is from fathers coping with stressed partners. Pregnancy is a time where emotions are commonly labile, due to hormonal changes, past stressors and the nervous energy of experiencing everything for the first time.
Some men just want to reassure and convince their partner that everything is fine and may not be used to seeing their loved one as emotional. Even the most caring and logical reassurance can be unsuccessful.
I tell them that they just need to let their partner go through it: “It’s part of their process”. I advise them to just be there for them without trying to fix anything.
Knowing how to support women through labour and birth can also be a challenge for men, that is certainly part of my job to make sure they know everything is going well, even when things appear very uncontrolled.
There is a good resource for fathers that I’m involved with called “Beer and Bubs”. This is birth education for men, where the class is held at the Pub, over a beer and meal.
I’ve attended a few, and they are great, fun and informative and a great experience for expectant fathers
You Recently premiered your Webpage: www.drsush.com.au It looks great and is a bit different. Tell us about it?
Yeah I was really happy with it, I had been working on it for a while. I wanted it to be modern and stylish, and different, and I think I’ve achieved that.
It has a bright colour scheme to go with the Dr Sush Next Generation branding. It has some awesome images of babies I’ve delivered, (one which some find a little confronting, but others have really liked)
And some original content as well. Dr Sush Healthy Minds is a video channel for patient information and support. I hope to maybe create some videos with FGHG moving forward, that highlight the team’s expertise.
There is also Birth Beats by Dr Sush, with is a collection of specially selected songs for Mothers to possibly include in their birth experience.
The tracks selected had to firstly sound very good, reference baby, birth, parenting in some way. And also convey an emotion, complimenting the Joy of birth, and become a reminder for parents, who could then tell their child “that was the song you were born to…..”
The response to this has been really positive, and it was really fun putting it together for the website page. In fact, just recently a fabulous story from one of my patients about her birth experience with Birth beats was featured on channel 10 news! (See the story).
What can someone come to see you for?
I look after pregnant women and manage their antenatal care and birth. I support natural physiological birth, as its many benefits are well documented. Hence I’m also interested in Vaginal birth after caesarean section and Vaginal twin delivery.
I can see women for a full range of Gynaecology services including pap smears, colposcopy, painful and heavy periods, PCOS and endoscopic surgery, including ovarian cysts , laparoscopic hysterectomy and treatment of endometriosis. I can also assess and work with couples for infertility.
How do they make an appointment with you?
Appointment’s can be made via my team directly on 03 8579 0958 or email firstname.lastname@example.org . I am consulting at Fertile Ground Health Group and also at Chelsea House, 55 Flemington Rd North Melbourne and at Complete Children’s Health 769 Old Calder highway Keilor.
And I provide private care at Frances Perry House, Epworth Freemasons, and St Vincent’s Private.
Dr.Sushen Naidoo, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist consulting from Fertile Ground Health Group
Sushen genuinely believes it is a privilege to be involved in a family’s pregnancy and birth. He values his time with his patients and his strength in communication and temperament ensure meaningful, informative and reassuring consultations. It is his aim and pleasure to see anxious and stressed couples leave a consultation feeling more confident. Sushen aims to foster long lasting relationships and hopes to be involved in care of families long after meeting their babies.