Antenatal Care

To check the mothers

  • Physical health such as blood pressure (B.P.), any swelling or discomfort, monitor her weight gain. And generally health checks.
  • Pap smear, blood tests and other swabs which may be necessary.
  • Urine testing.
  • For mental health assessments such as anxiety or depression screening tools.
  • Check to see if any underlying health issues may be impacting on her pregnancy.
  • Emotional health and well-being.
  • Mental preparation for the labor and birth.

To check the baby s

  • Growth and movements.
  • Heart beat.
  • Position in the uterus.

Can my partner come with me to my antenatal appointments?

Yes, unless there's a reason why not. You will need to go through a number of screening tools and questions with your maternity care provider. One of these is a domestic violence and general support questionnaire. It's important to share any concerns you have.

Topics covered at antenatal appointments

  • Nutrition and healthy eating.
  • Pain relief in labour.
  • Lifestyle changes such as stopping smoking, ceasing alcohol and drug use.
  • Work recommendations.
  • Managing stress.
  • Relationship issues.
  • Signs of labour and when to come to the hospital.
  • What to do if you're worried or have any concerns.

How often will I need to go for my antenatal checks?

  • If you are in a low-risk pregnancy you are likely to have between 8-10 visits over the whole time. If you're in a high-risk pregnancy, you may need more frequent antenatal checks.
  • If you've been pregnant before and had no complications, you may only need 6-8 appointments.
  • As a guide, most women have antenatal appointments every 4-6 weeks until they are 28 weeks pregnant.
  • Between 28-36 weeks of pregnancy, antenatal appointments are booked every 2-3 weeks.
  • Between 36 weeks to the baby's due date, antenatal appointments occur weekly.

Top 5 antenatal care tips

  1. Take a list of questions you want answered. Pregnancy brain is real and it's easy to forget things.
  2. Don t feel hesitant to ask your maternity care provider anything. Their job is to be there for you and your baby.
  3. Accept that every pregnancy is unique. Even if you've been pregnant before, this time and this baby will be a bit, or a lot different.
  4. See your antenatal care as an opportunity for you to connect with your baby. Listen to their heartbeat, be engaged in their progress and get caught up in the excitement of what's to come.
  5. Quarantine some time after your appointments to process the information you've received. Make time for you. There will come a time when you'll look back and be glad that you didn t wish your pregnancy away.

FAQ

Are my antenatal checks free?

If you go to a public hospital and are covered by Medicare they will be. If you see a GP or a private obstetrician or midwife you'll need to pay.

Do I have to go for every antenatal appointment?

You'll need to discuss your individual appointments and frequency with your maternity care provider. Generally appointments are less frequent in the 1st and 2nd trimesters and become more frequent in the 3rd.

Written and reviewed by Jane Barry, midwife and child health nurse on 22/04/20.

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