General Pregnancy Care

Finding out that you are expecting can be an exciting but also overwhelming experience. You will have many considerations in planning your pregnancy and the type of care you would like to receive.

Below is some information about pregnancy care and what to expect at your antenatal appointments.  For women who have a high risk or a multiple (more than one) pregnancy, additional pregnancy care information can be found here.

Antenatal visits

Ideally your first antenatal visit should be around 6 to 10 weeks of pregnancy, or as soon as you find out you are pregnant, if you are further along than this.

Some things you can expect at your first antenatal visit may include:

  • A blood or urine test to confirm your pregnancy if you are unsure.
  • A dating ultrasound scan can be arranged if you are unsure about the time of conception, or have not been having regular periods.
  • Discussion around your preferences for pregnancy care which could include where you would like to deliver your baby – such as a private or public hospital or a birth centre.
  • A discussion around your health, nutrition, and vaccination status.
  • Health assessment and any family or medical history that is relevant to your pregnancy.
  • Tests to screen for certain infections, which could impact your baby such as HIV, rubella, hepatitis B and C as well as syphilis.
  • Discussion around nutrition and physical activity, as well as healthy weight gain during your pregnancy.

For a normal pregnancy without any complications, you can expect to have between 8 to 10 antenatal visits with Dr Hong, although more appointments may be required, depending on your individual needs.

As your pregnancy progresses your antenatal visits will become more frequent, particularly from your third trimester. These visits are important to monitor both the health and wellbeing of you and your baby.

For more information about the types of tests and scans you can expect at your antenatal visits during your pregnancy, please visit the following pages:

Dr Hong will take time to ensure you feel relaxed and comfortable during your consultations as being able to communicate openly with your doctor helps to ensure you receive optimal care during your pregnancy.

Types of pregnancy care in Cairns

For private patients, Cairns provides a number of different options in pregnancy care depending depending on your preference and individual needs. These include the following:

  • Obstetric care within a Private setting – for private patients, your care is provided by a doctor of your choice with specialist training in Obstetrics (pregnancy). All your dealings will be with your private doctor which many women find comforting during their pregnancy. Dr Hong is a highly trained specialist obstretician and delivers babies in a private hospital setting.
    • You will require a GP referral for Medicare holders in order to eligible for a Medicare rebate
    • This is suitable for women with all types of pregnancies (i.e. high risk, multiples or a normal pregnancy).
    • Cairns Private Hospital is the only private hospital available in Cairns and offers a well appointed, comfortable private environment for mothers and babies.
  • Obstetric care within a Public setting
    • Obstetrics care within Cairns Public Hospital
      • This care option is for women with all types of pregnancies, i.e. women who have had a complicated pregnancy previously, or have a medical history that requires more specialist care, or a normal pregnancy.
      • The obstetric team is staffed by hospital midwife, doctors, GPs, specialist-in-training, and specialists; in this option you do not have a dedicated doctor at each visit and you will commonly see a different team member at each antenatal appointment and at the birth.
    • Midwifery Group Practice (MGP)
      • This care option is where a known midwife will look after a woman through all of her antenatal, labour and postnatal needs.
      • This type of care is only available to women who have low to moderate risk pregnancies.
      • Women wishing to utilise MGP care should obtain an early (8 to 10 weeks) GP referral, as numbers in MGP programme are limited.
  • Shared care with GP – shared care with your GP is an option for those women who wish to have most of their antenatal appointments with their local GP.
    • Care is given by both your GP as well as the local hospital staff (doctors and midwives).
      • Not all GPs offer this service, so it is best to speak with your individual GP to see if this is something that they provide to their patients.
    • It is suggested you attend booking-in appointments with either the hospital midwife or doctor at the hospital at around 12 to 14 weeks as well as at 36 weeks (additional appointments may be required depending on your pregnancy).
    • The obstetric team (doctors and midwives) at Cairns Public Hospital will attend to your care when you deliver your baby.
    • You will likely see different team members at your appointments and at the birth.
  • Shared care with private obstetrician – this is an option for women wishing to have most of their antenatal appointments with their private obstetrician, however they plan to deliver at Cairns Public Hospital.
    • Your private obstetrician will not delivery your baby. The obstetric team (doctors and midwives) at Cairns Public Hospital will attend to your care at the baby’s delivery.

Self-care in pregnancy

Your health and wellbeing prior to and during your pregnancy has a direct impact on the health and wellbeing of your baby.
Pregnancy care measures that you can start straight away to ensure optimal health for you and your baby include:

  • Avoiding all alcohol, smoking and substances (such as illegal drugs), which pose a serious health threat to you and your baby.
  • Ensure you are consuming a healthy and balanced diet.
  • Check with your GP or Dr Hong regarding your vaccination status, as well as additional vaccines which are relevant in pregnancy, such as the flu and whooping cough vaccines.
  • As soon as you start to plan your pregnancy it is important to take a folic acid supplement to help prevent birth defects such as spina bifida.

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