Parenting Education Service – Maternity Service at John Hunter and Belmont Hospitals.
NSW Health offers excellent training and information sessions for pregnant women and their partners. For more information about these programmes read this brochure.
Q: After becoming pregnant, when should I have my first visit?
A: The best time to confirm your pregnancy is around 7-8 weeks. This is when we can obtain an accurate measurement of your baby to check your due date. However, you may have other medical conditions that should be addressed before this time. Your GP can guide you about what is best for you and will generally arrange your initial blood tests. But as always, if you have any questions, we are here to help.
Q: How often will I need to see you?
A: For normal pregnancies, you will generally be seen every 4 weeks until 28 weeks, every 2 weeks to 36 weeks and then weekly until delivery. If you are pregnant with multiple babies, have existing medical conditions, or encounter complications that may indicate a high-risk pregnancy, your schedule of visits will be personalized to your specific care requirements. Each woman will also have a 6-week postpartum visit.
Q: Where do you deliver?
A: Private women can deliver at either Newcastle Private Hospital or John Hunter Hospital (as a private patient).
Q: When do I need to make a decision about where I would like to deliver?
A: I would encourage you to check out both hospitals, including asking your friends about their experiences, before your first visit so that I can try to address any questions you may have. Each hospital has their own admission process, paperwork, “Booking In” and arrangements for antenatal classes so the sooner we can set you on the right path the better. In reality, we have had patients who have already booked themselves in by their first or second visit as well as those who have postponed the decision until the month before delivery!! So don’t stress too much about the decision.
Q: Does Dr. Bailey bulk bill?
A: Not in his private rooms. If you would prefer this financial arrangement, you will need to ask your GP to refer you to the John Hunter Hospital Antenatal clinic as a public patient.
Q: Can I have dental work done during pregnancy?
A: Dental work under local anaesthesia is safe at anytime during pregnancy.
Q: What about travel during pregnancy?
A: Being pregnant, means that you have an increased risk of a blood clot up until about 4 weeks after your delivery. To minimize this risk, it is important to move/walk around at least every 2 hrs. no matter how you are travelling. Make sure you keep your self well hydrated too.
Most airlines have their own policy as to when you no longer can fly…. which is usually between 34 and 36 weeks. You should also wear special support stockings and if your flight is longer than 4 hours, let me know early so that we can talk about additional options.
Q: What can I use for heartburn?
A: As a general principle, our first recommendation is whatever has the least impact on your baby. By the time most women are ready for some “help” for their heartburn, they have already tried a few home remedies including, but not limited to, milk, water, Fruit Tingles (Hey, it works for some :)) and avoiding certain foods. Mylanta and Gaviscon are the first line. I will be asking you frequently about how your heartburn is going as your pregnancy progresses.
Q: What can I use for a headache?
A: Headaches are common in pregnancy. Unfortunately, a lot of the medication used to treat headaches when you are not pregnant is unsafe during pregnancy. To make it even more difficult, some headaches in pregnancy are simply not OK. One of the best ways to help sort out what is normal and what is not, is to take two Panamax (if you are not allergic to Paracetamol) when you feel a headache coming on. If the headache does not go away, let us know.
Q: What can I use for constipation?
A: First of all, make sure you are well hydrated. Regular exercise such as walking and choosing foods that are high in fibre such as raw fruits and vegetables are essential. If you need a little “nudge”, according to the same principle described under heartburn, we recommend using Metamucil initially as it stays in your gut and does not affect your baby. There are alternatives, if you would rather not use Metamucil. As usual, just ask. 🙂
Q: Is sex safe during pregnancy?
A: In a healthy normal pregnancy, having sex with your partner at anytime during your pregnancy is fine. That’s not to say that you wont have to make some temporary “adjustments” as your body changes, but it certainly “wont” harm your baby. On the other hand, if you develop any pain or bleeding after intercourse, talk to us about it.
And finally, there are certain high-risk pregnancies in which you should not have intercourse at all until after you are delivered. Don’t worry, we will chat about this issue too 🙂
Q: How will I know when I am in labour?
A: Well, that’s a little tricky for you to know for sure without knowing how dilated you cervix is. We need both uterine contractions and cervical change to call it true labour. At around 36 weeks in a low risk pregnancy, we discuss four reasons to call your chosen hospital’s Delivery Suite if you think you might be in labour. Don’t feel bad if, after an assessment at the hospital, you are asked to walk for an hour or two before being checked again or possibly even sent home…. especially for those women who are delivering for the first time.
Q: Can I exercise during pregnancy?
A: In general, for a normal healthy pregnancy, any exercise program you were participating in prior to pregnancy, you can continue throughout your pregnancy. As your pregnancy progresses, however, we recommend that you try to avoid those exercises that require you to lie flat on your back and those exercises that target your abdominal muscles. In a normal healthy pregnancy, swimming and walking are excellent exercises.