If you haven’t already done so, one of the first appointments to make after you find out you are pregnant should be with your doctor, midwife or obstetrician. Throughout the course of your pregnancy, you will need regular checks to monitor the health of you and your baby. This will include asking you about your health, checking your blood pressure and monitoring your baby's growth.
If this is your first pregnancy it’s best to schedule an appointment with your family doctor. At this first visit, they will generally confirm your pregnancy with a blood test and discuss your options for antenatal care. You will also be given information about nutrition, lifestyle implications and antenatal screening tests.
Once you’ve had the opportunity to discuss your health needs and preferences, your doctor may refer you to an obstetrician or midwife, or you may elect to find your own specialist maternity healthcare provider. There several choices available when it comes to where to give birth and who you would like to care for you during the antenatal period, so it’s a good idea to research all your options.
Choices of Antenatal Care
Your choice of antenatal carers includes a doctor (with training in maternity care), a midwife an obstetrician or sometimes a combination of all three. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you may also require specialist care during your pregnancy.
How to Make Your Choice
While there is much to consider when making your choice, including the costs associated with different types of antenatal care, there is also plenty of time to make a decision, so be sure to explore all your options.
One thing to bear in mind however, is depending on where you live, some options may not be available to you – particularly if you live rurally.
In addition to your family doctor, you may like to talk to family members or friends who have had a baby, about their experience with their carers during the course of their pregnancy.
In the end however, it’s your decision and you should feel comfortable with your choice. Yet like all things related to pregnancy and birth, it’s perfectly acceptable to change your mind along the way.
Most women are fertile two weeks before their period starts. However, breastfeeding can delay the return of periods, making it hard for women to know with any confidence when their ‘fertile window’ may be. This is why some women conceive again before their periods have come back.
An epidural is an anaesthetic procedure, where a local anaesthetic is injected into the epidural space near the spinal cord. An epidural anaesthetic numbs the nerves so pain cannot be felt in certain areas of the body.
An epidural during labour helps to block pain signals from contractions. If birth intervention is needed, e.g., caesarean or forceps, an epidural is a common form of anaesthetic.