Firstly congratulations on beginning your journey towards becoming a parent, whether you are already pregnant or you are planning a pregnancy, it is a very exciting time.
Since becoming an Obstetrician I have delivered more than 2000 babies and my philosophy continues to be based on personal care for you and your baby. This means you have my individual attention throughout your pregnancy, including all antenatal appointments.
Personal care also extends to after hours help as we know that issues or queries during a pregnancy happen at anytime. At your first visit you will be given my personal mobile number for any emergency or queries you have after hours.
Most pregnant women will have about 13 appointments during their pregnancy. These will be booked at a convenient time for you, where possible, right up until the birth of your baby.
YOUR FIRST VISIT
We advise that you book as soon as you are aware of your pregnancy to ensure that you secure an appointment with me when you are about 10 weeks pregnant.
You will need a referral to see me from your GP. The GP at this visit may give you a pathology slip to have your routine blood tests for pregnancy but if not I can arrange them. These tests may include a full blood count, blood group and antibody screen, check for rubella immunity and a screen for Down syndrome.
From the first visit you will see me every four weeks until 28 weeks. From there you see me every two weeks and then weekly from 36 weeks. In total, about 13 times.
At your visits your blood pressure will be taken and we will listen to your baby's heart beat and measure your growing tummy. I have an in-house 4D ultrasound and can scan whenever I (or you) need reassurance. At 18- 20 weeks you will be sent for a detailed ultrasound scan to assess the development of your baby. At 28 weeks you will be tested for diabetes and at 36 weeks you will have a vaginal swab for Group B streptococcus GBS.
Every woman and every labour is unique. At all stages of labour, I've been told it's my natural style to be calm and patient, confidently guiding you towards your baby's birth. Your desires and wishes during your labour will be discussed in your birth plan. I encourage vaginal births and Vaginal Birth After Caesarean (VBAC) and strive for a low caesarean rate. Childbirth however is unpredictable and a flexible approach will be taken if your wishes change or a new situation evolves. The safe delivery of your baby and your health are my priorities.
To help prepare for labour I recommend you attend childbirth classes offered through your booked hospital. The classes will discuss drug-free pain relief such as relaxation exercises, breathing techniques and options such as heat packs, hot showers and baths. Medical pain relief such as epidural and spinal anaesthesia, nitrous oxide and pethidine are also discussed. The Anaesthetic Group Ballarat also runs an evening session on pain relief for labour and Caesarean sections. For bookings call the Anaesthetic Group on (03) 5331 4888.
Growing a whole new person is a wondrous journey. From conception to birth to your six week post natal check then on to adulthood, each stage is as important as the next.
My team and I believe that you becoming a parent is more than how you delivered your baby. Every birth is an individual experience and the safe delivery of your baby and your health are my priorities.
Caesarean births may seem busy as more hospital staff are required. Your partner will still be with you and be able to take photos during the birth and cut the umbilical cord. After a quick check with a paediatrician, you can snuggle with your son or daughter. With your partner, you can all go to the recovery suite together where you can begin breastfeeding or continue snuggling your new miracle.
During your stay in hospital, I will visit you every day to assess how you and your baby are progressing. Midwives at the hospital will provide expert care and other practitioners such as lactation consultants are available if needed. You can expect to stay in hospital between 2-5 days depending on the type of delivery you had.
I consider that you are still in my care during the next six weeks after the birth of your baby and you should contact me if you are experiencing any issue such as abnormal pain, heavy bleeding, difficulty establishing breastfeeding or mastitis.
After your baby arrives we will send you a letter and a reminder SMS for you and your six week old baby to come for a check at our rooms. During this visit I will talk to you about your how you are healing and managing with your newborn. It is also a good time to discuss contraception and to have a pap smear if required. I will also check your baby's development. If needed you may be advised to have a physiotherapy appointment with Belinda to help with issues such as abdominal separation and getting back into exercise.