For an unplanned pregnancy, the news that you are pregnant, is a surprise. With it comes a range of emotions, concerns and questions. Will I cope? Will the baby be healthy? What impact will this have on my life/ family/work? etc. Having decided to carry on, every woman with a continuing pregnancy needs to make decisions regarding the antenatal care required for the rest of the pregnancy and where she wishes to deliver the baby. Other social issues to think about relate to the home environment, relationship issues, employment and financial plans. Ideally, you will be supported by a partner or friend/family support network, as raising a child is challenging.
Initial tests at confirmation of a continuing pregnancy include checking immunity to certain blood borne infections, blood group, full blood screen and checking blood pressure, urine and estimating the age of the pregnancy (gestational age). Pap tests can also be performed during pregnancy. Blood tests may be repeated during the course of the pregnancy, to check on blood sugar to ensure gestational diabetes has not developed. You will have a glucose tolerance test to check this. There will be at least one scan around 18 weeks into the pregnancy to check on baby’s shape and development ( morphology scan). Blood pressure and examination will be conducted at each antenatal check up. If a problem is detected, such as high blood sugar, when screened for gestational diabetes, further investigation will be required, and referral to an obstetrician.
For the duration of a pregnancy the pregnant woman will need to have many check up appointments (antenatal checks) and various blood tests, ultrasounds and other tests depending on the age and health issues of the individual. If the pregnancy is complicated by pre existing medical conditions, or new health issues which are triggered by the pregnancy itself, then ongoing specialist care for the duration of the pregnancy may be required.
Most women in Australia give birth in hospital, and are strongly encouraged to do so, as this is the safest option for you and baby. Public and private hospitals offer obstetric services and your choice depends on your ability to pay, and personal preference. If you don’t have a Medicare card, or Private Health Insurance, the antenatal care and obstetrician outpatient and inpatient care will be expensive. Shared antenatal care or public care is the cheapest option, but not inferior in quality. Private obstetric care is the most expensive, though many private health insurers will subsidise this care option.
Our doctors at our Gynaecare Sydney north shore women’s health clinic are all able to listen to your concerns; request and perform all the initial tests and examination; and help guide you for referral to a hospital, obstetrician or midwife unit depending on your needs. We are proud to offer shared antenatal care for all our patients, in partnership with hospitals across Sydney. The Royal North Shore Hospital is our closest public obstetric facility.
There are guidelines regarding lifestyle issues that are recommended during pregnancy, which we will explain fully as part of the pregnancy related counselling and care.