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I'm Pregnant, Now What

December 15, 2018

 

I’m pregnant- Now what?

Firstly, congratulations! What an amazing journey you’re embarking on. It’s probably equally daunting, as there are so many decisions to make- now and during your pregnancy, labour and birth.

Our body is doing so much work for us “behind the scenes”, to grow and nurture that baby that’s nestled within our womb. Whilst baby is growing and doing it’s thing, we are busy trying to prepare for it’s life outside of the womb. Firstly, with what we do once we find out we are pregnant.

So many of us (me included!) start our pregnancy journey with little idea where to go, what to ask for, how to get the best care available.

Most of us rely on our mums, other family and friends for advise. The reality is, unless your friends and family are on the same page as you, it’s not going to be the best place for you to start.

If you’re like me, I’m going to assume you also believe birth is a normal, physiological process and we are just like any other birthing mammal. If you’re closest and dearest are on the same page, that’s fantastic! It’s becoming more common as more and more delve into the research and become more educated on birth. No mean feat, when we’re had the last few centuries being continuously told birth is a medical event, what position to assume during birth, told our bodies are flawed, our babies don’t know how to navigate through our birth path etc. But please know without a doubt, your care provider will determine the outcome of your birth.

There has been much research, and the data from around the country also shows us if we want a normal birth, we need to find an expert in normal birth, and that involves having a known midwife. Whilst current data suggests only 10% of women have this “gold standard” of care, as more and more families demand being supported through their entire pregnancy, attended in birth and supported postnatally by a known midwife, we will see supply match demand.

You can go to your GP to confirm your pregnancy, which will probably involve a urine sample and blood test/screen and perhaps a scan at 6 and 12 weeks, and a referral to a care provider/hospital.

For a small number of you, you’ll have private midwives with Medicare Provider Numbers, who completed qualifications to enable them to order bloods/scan etc. {Midwives Australia link}. The great news if you’re fortunate enough to have this service locally, you can access them for antenatal care, birth and postnatal care. Some have visiting access to their local hospitals, and many offer home birth options too.

Your GP might be able to provide you with some antenatal care (particularly in rural areas), or also should be able to provide you with a list of care provider options.

Please don’t assume, because you have private health insurance, you need to use it and go to a private obstetrician. Decide what you want for your birth FIRST, do your research on the different types of care- not just public v private hospital, but there is also shared care (fragmented) between GP and hospital, MGP (known midwife) which you can access through some public hospitals and privately in some areas, and like I mentioned earlier, Private midwives.

Just pretend you are shopping for a car- you already know what you want, the colour, whether automatic or manual etc. so keep that in mind when having discussions for referral from your GP (**if you can access a private midwife with medicare eligibility, you don’t need a referral from GP for them).  You wouldn’t let your car salesman sell you a car that’s not remotely like you were after, nor should you . Start with the end in mind, don’t be sold short and RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH!! And I don’t mean by reading “What to Expect when you’re Expecting”, I mean looking into evidence-based research, that’s sure to empower you and take you from being a patient, to be a maternity consumer who is empowered and happy to shop around until they find the care they want.  

 

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