First pregnancy visit
Your options for care during pregnancy include:
- Private obstetric care (private health insurance with obstetric cover is recommended for this option)
- The public hospitals’ doctor/midwife clinics including:
- the Antenatal (general Obstetric) clinic
- the High risk Obstetric clinic (for complicated pregnancies)
- the Birth Centre
- the Midwifery Group Practice
3. Shared care with your GP and any of the public hospital clinics and the RPAH Birth Centre.
Regardless of the care you decide on for your pregnancy, you should see your GP in early pregnancy, by about 7 weeks from your last period, to organise some early tests, make the relevant referrals, advise you on managing early pregnancy symptoms and check on your general health. It’s a good idea to make a long appointment for this first visit.
To maximise your baby’s health and development, we recommended that you completely avoid drinking alcohol, smoking and other drugs and commence a pregnancy multivitamin containing folate as soon as possible and preferably before conception.
More about Antenatal Shared Care
Antenatal shared care is where your GP looks after you in pregnancy, shared with public hospital care at RPA, Canterbury or occasionally the Royal Hospital for Women, depending on your home address. (You will not be accepted by a hospital unless you live in their designated area.) Your labour and delivery occur at the relevant hospital.
All GPs providing shared care are accredited with the hospital and undertake ongoing training and education in pregnancy and post-natal care.
Shared care is for women likely to have an uncomplicated pregnancy. This will be formally assessed and approved at one of your initial hospital visits. If complications arise, your GP can confer with or refer to the Obstetricians at the relevant hospital.
Which GPs at Erskineville Doctors are accredited?
Dr Cara Frame, Dr Jennifer Lonergan, Dr Patricia Walton, Dr Shereena Sinnayah, Dr Annabel Kain, and Dr Vanessa Moran all provide shared care. If your nominated GP is away, it is no problem to see someone else, however for optimal care it is best to stay with the same doctor who can get to know you, your family and your pregnancy well.
How do I join the program?
Book in to see your nominated GP when you first know that you might be pregnant. Your first pregnancy visit covers a lot of health issues so please book in for 30 mins. It is important to visit your GP early to ensure your baby’s health is optimised and so that you can take advantage of available early pregnancy screening tests.
Your GP can help with information about the booking process for each hospital. Generally the first hospital visit is advised between 12-18 weeks. Your GP will look after you before then.
Booking in for the Shared Care or Hospital clinics
To book in at RPA please complete the online form found on their website: https://www.slhd.nsw.gov.au/rpa/WomenAndBabies/infoPregnant.html
At RPA you can do shared care with either the Antenatal clinic or the Birth centre.
For the Royal Hospital for Women: http://www.seslhd.health.nsw.gov.au/RHW/Antenatal_Form/AntenatalForm_RHW.asp
For Canterbury Hospital call 9787 0250 or 9787 0560
Booking in to a private Obstetrician
You will need to call the Obsterician’s private rooms directly. They will be able to inform you of the out of pocket costs of private Obstetric care.
Timing and Costs of Shared care
During your pregnancy it is usual to see your doctor or midwife around
- every 4 weeks from 6 weeks until 28 weeks
- every 2 weeks until 36 weeks
- weekly until delivery
Around 4-5 of these visits are with the Hospital clinic
Visits with your GP cost:
- for < 20 mins: $85, Medicare rebate $40.10, out of pocket $39.90
- for 20-40 mins $125, Medicare rebate $71.70, out of pocket cost $53.30
- There is also a one off pregnancy management item after 28 weeks of $180, Medicare rebate $142.65, out of pocket costs $37.35
The benefits of Antenatal Shared Care include:
- Continuity of care with your family GP
- More convenience, flexibility and less waiting for appointments than in busy hospital clinics for the majority of your care
- Care by a GP trained in pregnancy care
- Less expensive than private Obstetric care
Making and preparing for your appointments
It is helpful for us if you let our receptionist know that you are booking an Antenatal appointment.
If you have any pregnancy problems or concerns (or other health issues), please do book a longer appointment with us (30 mins) for your antenatal care. All pregnancy appointments involve testing your urine. There are specimen jars in our bathroom, so collecting your urine while you are waiting really helps your appointment to run more smoothly. Don’t forget to bring your yellow card (this will be given to you in your first few appointments with us).
Mental Health screening in pregnancy
Pregnancy is associated with higher rates of anxiety and depression. It is an important part of our care to include questions relating you how you are feeling. At 28 weeks and at your 6 weeks post baby check (and sometimes at other times) we will offer you a screening questionnaire relating to mental health and any stressors you are experiencing. If you mention to reception that you are 28 weeks pregnant (or just over) or here for your 6 weeks post baby check, they can give you the questionnaire to complete whilst waiting. Please let your doctor know if you are concerned about your mental health at any stage of your pregnancy. More information can be found at Centre for Perinatal Excellence
All our Antenatal Shared Care GPs love pregnancy care and we look forward to continuing that care with your family as it grows!
NSW Health Having a Baby
RPAH Women and Babies – includes online booking form for first antenatal appointment.
Royal Hospital for Women patient resources
Problems in early pregnancy
Pain/bleeding: If you are less than 20 weeks pregnant and experiencing pain or bleeding, you can attend the Early Pregnancy Unit located in the RPAH Emergency Department at any time or the Early Pregnancy Assessment Service on Level 5 at RPAH, at 7.30am on Monday to Friday.
Nausea/vomiting: Nausea and Vomiting in pregnancy
Medications in pregnancy