You have your positive pregnancy test in hand.
‘What now?’ we hear you say…..
Finding out you are pregnant and growing new life inside of you, can be an amazing time for some, while for others it can be an overwhelming experience.
This was one of the primary reasons why we started this website and directory.
There are several options for care during pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period. So take a few deep breaths, have a look at the information available to you and make decisions that are best for your and your family.
- Midwifery continuity of care
- General Practitioner (GP) shared care
Depending on where you are birthing, some hospitals may have variations of these options available.
Some health insurance funds offer different rebates for private services, talk with your fund for more specific information.
Depending on the model of care you choose, you may consider birthing at a public hospital, birth centre, private hospital or in the comfort of your own home. It can be a good idea to enquire early about these services, as some may have limited availability and book out fairly quickly.
Guidelines for antenatal care
The Australian Government recommends a standard level of care be provided to all women who are pregnant. These guidelines are implemented by all practitioners who care for pregnant women and their families.
There are several ultrasounds that are offered during pregnancy. Having a scan is your choice and will depend on your individual circumstances.
This is usually done between 6-10 weeks and is often the first chance to see your baby. This can be a very reassuring time, especially if you have had a previous miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
You may consider this scan if you are unsure of the date of your last menstrual period or fell pregnancy while using contraception. This will help determine your estimated due date.
Nuchal Translucency Ultrasound
This scan is performed between 11-13 weeks and is a screening test to estimate your baby’s chances of having Down syndrome or other chromosomal abnormalities. A blood test will also be taken from the mother and correlated with the result of the scan.
Remember this is a screening test and may require further screening/testing depending on the result. These could include – Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) test, Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or Amniocentesis
Morphology/fetal anomaly Ultrasound
This scan is best done between 18-20 weeks and checks baby’s development, position of the placenta, cervical length and amniotic fluid levels. It may also be possible to see the sex of the baby. If this is something you would prefer to keep a surprise, inform the sonographer before the ultrasound so they can respect your wishes.
At times during your pregnancy, your health care provider may recommend ultrasounds at different times to check baby’s growth, wellbeing and function of the placenta.
Other pregnancy screening
Generally, your overall health and wellbeing, as well as that of your baby, will be assessed each time you visit your care provider. Some assessments that may be suggested each visit include – blood pressure, weight, fundal height, baby’s heart rate (bedside ultrasound or doppler) and possibly a urine test. Your height will also be measured at the first visit.
Your care provider will suggest a number of blood tests at the beginning of pregnancy to assess your health and provide addition support if needed. Some of the tests include checking for anaemia, blood group and infection immunity. Other tests such as thyroid and vitamin D may also be offered depending on your history.
Throughout the pregnancy you will also be offered a blood test to check for gestational diabetes.
Other blood tests may also be considered depending on your situation.
Some practitioners may offer screening for Group B Streptococcus (GBS) later in pregnancy or during labour if indicated.
Please remember to always ask questions about any tests suggested so that you feel confident in making a decision that is best for you and your family.
Information for this page has been sourced from: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/pregnancy-care-guidelines/part-b-core-practices-in-pregnancy-care/antenatal-visits#:~:text=Determine%20the%20schedule%20of%20antenatal,seven%20visits%20should%20be%20adequate.