First pregnancy visit:
You should see your GP in very 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.
- Who would you like to look after you in your pregnancy?
Your options for pregnancy care include:
- Private obstetric care (private health insurance with obstetric cover is recommended for this option). You will need to call the Obstetrician’s private rooms directly. They will be able to inform you of the out of pocket costs of private Obstetric care.
2. 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,
More about Antenatal Shared Care At Erskineville Doctors
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.
2. How do I register with a Hospital?
For Hospital based and Shared Care you will need to book in to your relevant hospital yourself. Private Obstetricians will organise your hospital booking for you.
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 056
3. Timing of Pregnancy visits
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
4. 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).
5. Pre-natal testing
Pre-natal testing options begin at 10 weeks of pregnancy. It is important to book an appointment to discuss this with your GP before this time. This can be arranged through private Women’s Ultrasound providers or through RPA Hospital.
This can include:
- Non invasive Prenatal screening (10 weeks) – a blood test of the mother can detect the baby’s DNA. Please note that NIPT screening incurs a cost of $250-400 regardless of provider. An ultrasound within 2 weeks of the test is required.
- Combined First Trimester Screening (11-13 weeks) – a blood test of maternal hormones followed by a dedicated ultrasound looking for features of Down’s syndrome and other common genetic syndromes. RPA recommends commencing with this screen and only progressing to NIPT for higher risk pregnancies.
- Screening for pre-eclampsia – looking at the blood flow to the placenta can identify women at higher risk of this condition. It is done as part of cFS.
- Amniocentesis or Chorionic Villous sampling
6. Foods to avoid in pregnancy
Listeria is a very serious food borne bacteria that can cause pregnancy loss. Please see the link for foods to avoid in pregnancy http://www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/foodsafetyandyou/life-events-and-food/pregnancy/foods-to-eat-or-avoid-when-pregnant
Mecury levels can be high in some types of fish and cause harm to the unborn child. For information on eating fish in pregnancy please see: http://www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/foodsafetyandyou/life-events-and-food/pregnancy/mercury-and-fish
7. 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
8. 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.
Attending the same clinic at the Royal Hospital for Women requires a booked appointment.
9. Nausea and Vomiting in pregnancy
Nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy is common however its important to see your GP if this is making you have time off work, or if you worried about becoming dehydrated. Nausea and Vomiting in pregnancy
10. Medications in pregnancy
All our Antenatal Shared Care GPs love pregnancy care and we look forward to continuing that care with your family as it grows!
Specific Hospital Resources
NSW Health Having a Baby
RPAH Women and Babies – includes online booking form for first antenatal appointment.
Royal Hospital for Women patient resources