Pregnancy planning and testing
If you’re planning for a baby, we recommend that you visit your GP before you conceive, to discuss things like lifestyle, exercise, eating habits, vaccinations, supplements and your overall wellbeing.
If you have a chronic condition, such as asthma, diabetes or epilepsy, then it is very important to see a GP before you get pregnant. The reason is that some types of medication can be harmful to an unborn baby. We recommend coming in a few months before you want to conceive, to allow time for your body to adjust to any changes in treatment, and ensure your medical condition is controlled effectively.
It’s also important to make sure your vaccinations are up to date, as preventable infections can cause miscarriage or birth defects. We can offer a blood test to check if you need further vaccinations.
Additionally, it’s recommended to take a daily supplement of folic acid, which has been found to greatly reduce the risk of neural tube defects, before you fall pregnant. Having enough folic acid is critical in the early weeks of pregnancy when your baby’s brain and nervous system are developing.
If you suspect you may be pregnant, your GP can run a pregnancy test for you during your consultation.
Antenatal is the period of time before birth, and antenatal care is the care provided by a healthcare professional during your pregnancy. As soon as you know you are pregnant it is a good idea to go and see your doctor. At this visit, the doctor will talk to you about how to have a healthy pregnancy, and discuss things like healthy eating and exercise advice. This is the time when the doctor will give you information about antenatal screening tests, as well as how lifestyle factors, such as smoking, alcohol or drug use may affect your health or your baby’s health. You can also use the time to raise any questions you may have.
Shared Antenatal Care services are available with one of the GPs who consults at our Cranbourne practice. You can read more about this here.
6-week postnatal check
Postnatal is the period of time after childbirth. At your six week postnatal check both you and your baby will be seen. First you will spend 15 minutes with the doctor who will spend some time focused on you, possibly including an internal examination to ensure your uterus has returned to its pre-pregnancy size, and a discussion about contraception. The next 15 minutes will be spent with the doctor and the nurse, where the doctor will do the 6 week check for your baby, including an examination and weighing, as well as measuring their head circumference. In the mean time, the nurse will prepare and then administer the 6-week immunisation.