Pregnancy Focused Medical CentreMay 31, 2017
In most medical centres in Brisbane these days you will commonly find a GP who specialises in the care of pregnant women and their families. Some will have done extra specialised training or have experience in the delivery of children if they have previously practiced in rural settings. When my wife was pregnant we were able to find a local GP who had done extensive training in obstetrics and had personally delivered over 200 babies in a “previous life” as a country GP. This provided us both with peace of mind that we were getting the best medical care from our local GP.
0-8 weeks (Finding The Right GP For You)
So you have just found out that you are pregnant….. now what? The first step is to find yourself a good GP who will be able to hold your hand through the pregnancy journey. If your able to afford it, I would recommend no necessarily finding the nearest bulk billing GP. You are going to need to take your time in consults and your concerns may be a little more complicated than the common cold. You have to ask yourself what the cost is of getting the wrong medical advice. In your first appointment, you will need to do a blood test to confirm that you actually are pregnant. Unfortunately, over the counter pregnancy tests are not 100% accurate. And at this stage during pregnancy the chances of miscarriage are still quite high. So there is a chance that you may lose your baby. The GP may also take your blood pressure and get a brief personal and sexual history. If you bring your partner into this appointment make sure that you are both comfortable to answer any awkward questions that the GP may ask. Now is the time to get your house in order and have those difficult conversations if you haven’t already.
8-16 Weeks (Referrals)
Once you know that you are pregnant, it is now time to get the necessary referrals from your doctor. You will need to do an 8-week and 20-week scan. Please note that generally these scans are not bulk billed. However do shop around. Also, you may choose to pay $500 for a comprehensive blood test that let’s you determine the sex of your baby, whether it has any medical problems and more. If you can afford it, this test is highly recommended. If you baby does have significant medical or genetic complication like downs syndrome now is the right time to abort.
Also during this consult the GP will talk with you about how you would like to deliver your baby and who you may want to manage the pregnancy. In Australia, the options are basically private obstetrician, public midwife or private midwife and home birth. Make sure to do your research before making this very significant decision. Most GPs will generally recommend to go private if you can afford it. However, in some instances even if you have private insurance some people choose to go public.
In mine and my wife’s case, we chose to go public even though we had private insurance. We were both very motivated to try and have a natural birth if possible. We were also classed as having a low risk pregnancy. We read that statistics and the public hospitals and midwives had much higher percentages of natural births than did private obstetricians.
At this stage the GP will hand your care over to a mid-wife or obstetrician, depending which path you go down.
A good GP should be available via email, phone or consultation should you need to speak with them during this time. However, your mid-wife and obstetrician will be able to answer most of your questions. Please note that an obstetrician will charge a pregnancy management fee of approx. $1800 and there will be out of pocket expenses for each consultation with them.
After you deliver your baby, it is a good idea to book a consultation with your bulk billing GP. They firstly will need to meet your new born child and chances will be that you will have a lot of concerns that they can help you with. Expect to have at least 6 consultations with them in the first year of your newborns life. For example, you may have trouble breastfeeding, you may have trouble sleeping, you may be suffering form post-natal depression. These are all things that your GP can help you with or can refer you to someone who can help you.
The pregnancy/ post pregnancy period can be one of the most daunting and challenging of anyone’s life. If you have the correct support structure around you, starting with your GP – this process can be made much more manageable. More importantly they will help you feel that you are not alone going through this process. Any good medical centre will have a number of other allied health professionals, from psychologists to physios that can aid you during this time as well.
Looking forward to seeing you at our pregnancy focused medical centre on Brisbane’s Northside.