As one of the most significant events in our life, pregnancy and birth can bring challenges and concerns. Being a unique event, there will be different needs for everyone but thankfully there are a variety of options, resources and support available.
Your GP will most likely be the first health professional you will see when pregnancy is confirmed or suspected. There is a lot of information regarding pregnancy and birth available, so this can be discussed during your consultation. How much your GP is then involved in the planning and care will depend on what you would like to do and the facilities that are available in the area you live.
After pregnancy is confirmed it is important to plan your antenatal care with your GP and schedule the appointments needed during pregnancy. These appointments can discuss the stage of pregnancy and any problems that may be experienced, such as morning sickness.
Further to discussions, these consultations will also include a number of checks, scans, and tests. Checking blood pressure, ensuring a recent Pap test has been completed, feeling and measuring the tummy are some of the things to expect. The number of appointments will vary depending on whether it is your first pregnancy and how things are progressing. It is also a good idea to bring someone to the appointment who will provide support during birth, especially when discussing a birth plan with your GP.
After giving birth, your GP can offer medical support and advice. A consultation can cover topics, such as breastfeeding, immunisation, and tips on looking after yourself and the baby. Many resources are available to complement the postnatal care given by your GP. These include Breastfeeding Helpline and support groups. There are routine postnatal check-ups, but should there be any concerns regarding mother or baby, please seek medical advice sooner.
There is also a list of phone and support services from the Queensland Government website specifically for new parents. Women’s Health Queensland can provide free information on a range of women’s health and wellbeing topics and have more specific resources such as ‘Mums Connect’, a support and information group for those residing in Queensland.
Throughout the experience of antenatal and postnatal care, keep in mind that there is no such thing as a trivial question, as our doctors are more than happy to help with any concerns.
Your GP holds a central role in both advising your health needs and managing health conditions. As such, they can connect you to resources that are specific to your needs and help ensure that any decisions made will take into consideration your medical history.