Staying healthy before, during and after pregnancy is important for a mother and her baby. When considering having a baby, or if you are already pregnant there are many options available for health care. The best starting point is to #talktoyourgp
It is important to talk with your GP if you are thinking of having a baby. Care for you and your baby can be monitored by your GP from pre-conception right through until after birth.
Book a GP appointment for a pre-conception check-up. Your GP will look at both parents personal and family medical histories.
The GP will discuss your health, current medications and any supplements you are taking to be sure they are safe to continue while pregnant.
Your GP may want to talk with you about things like having a healthy diet, your weight and if you have had any previous pregnancies or children. They may also discuss miscarriages or birth abnormalities in your family history, or if you smoke, drink alcohol or take illicit drugs.
In general, a fertile couple has a good chance of getting pregnant within a year. Statistics show, out of all couples trying to conceive naturally:
will conceive within one month
will conceive within six months
will conceive within one year
will conceive within 18 months
will conceive within two years
If your period is late, and there is a possibility you may be pregnant because you have had unprotected sex since your last period, you may do an at home pregnancy test or make an appointment to see your local GP.
Using a 28-day average menstrual cycle, fertilisation or conception normally occurs at around day 14 or the middle of your cycle (two weeks after your last period and two weeks before your next period). The start of your pregnancy is calculated from the start date of your last menstrual period, or day one of your cycle.
Counting from the first day of your last menstrual period, there are 40 gestational weeks of pregnancy.
If your menstrual cycle is longer than 28 days, or irregular, the day of conception could be any time after day 14, and it will be harder to confirm the exact date in the early stages of your pregnancy. To work out the gestational age of your baby, your doctor may do a blood test to measure the level of pregnancy hormone, or you may have an early ultrasound to confirm exact dates.
Your GP will discuss your prenatal care when you first confirm your pregnancy. There are many options for care including a private obstetrician, midwife program or with your GP. In South Western Sydney, mothers-to-be can choose Antenatal Shared Care as their birth care option. This means for the duration of the pregnancy care is provided collaboratively by the GP and the hospital-based service.
In South Western Sydney, pregnant women can see their GP for their regular checks as part of the Antenatal Shared Care Program. The goal of the program is to provide a high and uniform standard of care to pregnant women throughout South Western Sydney.
The program provides flexibility, choice and continuity of care as well as catering for the preferences and needs of women from culturally and diverse backgrounds. It is available in public hospitals in South Western Sydney.
Not all GPs offer ANSC, so be sure to ask your GP.
The first 12 weeks of your pregnancy are called your first trimester. Women often feel nauseous, or vomit, in this time because of certain smells and tastes – called morning sickness. If the vomiting becomes serious, and you are having trouble keeping food and fluids down, see your GP.
You may experience severe tiredness and all you want to do is sleep, and you could feel very emotional and become quite irritable about small things that previously did not worry you.
If you experience any vaginal bleeding or abdominal pain, see you GP straight away.
Weeks 13 through 28 of pregnancy are referred to as the second trimester. During this time, your body will change a lot. In most cases, your energy returns, morning sickness will generally disappear and you will start feeling well.
Sometime between week 22 and week 26, you will feel the baby move for the first time.
During the second trimester you will have antenatal check-ups every four weeks. Your GP will also arrange follow up blood tests, ultrasound and monitor your general health, especially your blood pressure, and the baby’s growth and development.
This covers from week 29 until the baby is born. Check-ups are done on the mother and baby fortnightly at the start of the third trimester and weekly closer to the due date. It is useful to attend parenting education and birthing classes run by your local hospital in this trimester.
Early in this trimester is the time to start thinking about preparing for your labour. This is also the time to prepare for your hospital stay and bringing your new baby home. You’ll need to pack yours and your baby’s bag.
The baby makes a lot of growth during this trimester and can feel very heavy, which may make you feel uncomfortable. A return of irritability from the early weeks may happen and the tiredness is a result of being unable to find a comfortable position to lie or sit in bed or on any other surface. If you become frightened about the birth as it gets closer, you can speak with your GP about that and they can tell you what to expect and provide you with helpful advice about the event.
Your breasts might become quite larger, your feet and hands swollen, you may need to go to the toilet more often to urinate. Your GP will give you advice on managing these symptoms.
The type of care you have chosen will see you through your birth from this point.
For more information about pregnancy #talktoyourgp
Aboriginal Medical Service – 21 Deans Rd, Airds NSW2560
Benevolent Society – Various locations throughout SWS
Catholic Care – Various locations throughout SWS
CentaCare – 45-47 Scott St, Liverpool NSW 2170