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A woman’s health before pregnancy is critical for her wellbeing during pregnancy and may affect her unborn baby. Hence, the RANZCOG recommends having a health check with your doctor at the time you are planning a pregnancy. We are pleased to offer this service to give your baby an optimal start to life. Some of the key points to address in that meeting include:
- Assessment of obstetric and medical history
- Assessment of genetic disorders
- Optimisation of health care with supplements and mental well being
- Weight management
- Adequate diet
- Exercise plan
- Management of pre-existing health conditions (where relevant)
Antenatal care is defined as the care that you and your unborn baby receive from your doctor during pregnancy. This is extremely important for both mother and baby as the requirements of each individual pregnancy may be different. While pregnancy is a physiological condition in a low-risk pregnancy, occasionally unexpected complications can arise at any time.
The following are some key components of care during pregnancy:
- The first appointment – A health assessment is required soon after the pregnancy is diagnosed. This will identify
- Any pre-existing health concerns and how they need to be managed
- Management of usual symptoms that occur in the first trimester
- Blood tests and ultrasound examination required in the first trimester
- Where you will give birth
- The type of antenatal care required
- Education about conditions during pregnancy and birth
- Considering an overall plan for the pregnancy and birth (which may change based on how the pregnancy progresses)
- We encourage you to speak to us freely about your health concerns as this gives us an opportunity to customise your health care plan.
- We can organise your pregnancy care at either public or private hospitals. We also participate in shared care programs at Monash Health in liaison with general practitioners that are accredited by the health service.
- Regular health checks with the obstetrician – this is necessary to identify how the pregnancy is progressing and facilitates an early identification of any complications so they can be managed promptly.
- We encourage all women in our care to regularly attend antenatal health checks as advised in order to ensure both maternal and fetal wellbeing.
Care during labour/Management during labour
As part of the obstetric service, we provide care during labour to monitor the health of the mother and the fetus. We also support the mother and offer a range of pain relief options that are suited to individual needs.
During labour and after birth, a woman needs to have access to obstetric, anaesthetic and neonatal services. Even in low-risk pregnancies, complications can occur without prior warning and need to be managed skillfully in a safe team-based environment.
The key components of care during labour are:
- An initial assessment of mother and fetus based on history and physical examination
- Monitoring of mother’s well being is carried out by regular checks of blood pressure and abdominal checks
- Monitoring fetal well-being is carried out by regular checks of the fetal heart rate by intermittent auscultation (handheld Doppler) or by CTG (continuous Cardiotocography).
- Monitoring progress of labour – regular assessments of women in labour is also carried out by abdominal and vaginal examinations.
The process of birthing is a component of management in labour. Women may require assistance in giving birth with an instrumental delivery, which may be either forceps or vacuum depending on the clinical findings. After the birth, women may need to be observed for a few hours in the birth unit to monitor any blood loss.
Postnatal (Postpartum) care
Postnatal care is care of the woman after birth till six weeks later. It is very important that women and their babies are well looked after in the postnatal period. In the early postnatal period, support regarding breastfeeding and general physical and mental wellbeing are crucial. This is initially provided by the hospital staff with regular checks of both mother and baby.
Women need to be supported over the whole duration of their postnatal period and are reviewed in the hospital after birth and at the six-week postnatal check.