Finding out you are pregnant can be an emotional experience, and it is normal to feel overwhelmed by the amount of information and advice that is out there. However, there are some steps you can take to ensure that you and your child remain as healthy as possible during the pregnancy.
What you can do:
Stop smoking: There is a lot of evidence that smoking is associated with poor and potentially dangerous outcomes for your pregnancy and your baby. If you think quitting will be difficult, talk to your GP or call Quitline on 137848
Stop drinking: Alcohol is also linked to poor outcomes for your baby, and research has found that there is no safe level of alcohol to consume while you are pregnant.
Vitamins: Folic acid is recommended for all pregnant women in the first trimester, and is also recommended before pregnancy. Talking to your doctor about this can be helpful. Depending on your blood results, the doctor may also recommend other supplements such as vitamin D or iron.
Healthy eating and exercise: It is normal to put on weight during pregnancy, and this ensures your baby will grow well. However, healthy eating and continuing safe exercise is also important to avoid getting gestational diabetes
See your GP! Your GP is your first step to getting the best medical care during your pregnancy.
What to expect from your first GP visit:
Your GP will have some important questions for you which will help guide what care you will need. These are important to get an idea of you and your pregnancy, and to ensure you get the best care. Some of these questions may be about sensitive matters, but remember everything you discuss with your doctor is confidential and will not be discussed with anyone outside of your healthcare team.
Your doctor will likely request a blood or urine test to confirm the pregnancy
Your expected due date can be calculated if you know the date of your last period and your periods are regular, otherwise it can be calculated by an ultrasound scan (remember that this is estimated, and may not be exactly correct!)
Your doctor will request a blood test. This tests for a variety of conditions that may affect your pregnancy, including your blood type, various viruses, and potentially your iron and vitamin D levels. The doctor will also check your urine, weight and blood pressure.
Make sure you tell your doctor about any medical conditions or medications you take, as well as any previous pregnancies you have had or whether there are any medical conditions that run in your family.
Up to half of pregnancies are unplanned, and so it is normal to have mixed feelings. If you have any concerns about your pregnancy, discuss these with your doctor. They will provide you with support and discuss your options.
With your GP, you will come up with a plan for the care you will receive during your pregnancy. This will likely involve seeing a midwife or obstetrician as well as your GP. It is important that you receive ongoing care from these health professionals to ensure you and your baby remain healthy!
If you are interested in learning more about this topic, feel free to book an appointment with one of our friendly doctors by booking online or contacting us by phone on 8269 6000.
Bonacquisto, L 2011, ‘Antenatal screening’, Australian Family Physician, vol. 40, no. 10, pp. 785-7
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. 2018. Enjoying a healthy pregnancy: GPs’ essential role in health promotion. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2017/januaryfebruary/enjoying-a-healthy-pregnancy-gps-essential-role-in-health-promotion/. [Accessed 16 March 2018].
Eat For Health. 2018. Healthy Eating When You’re Pregnant or Breastfeeding | Eat For Health. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/eating-well/healthy-eating-throughout-all-life/healthy-eating-when-you%E2%80%99re-pregnant-or-breastfeeding. [Accessed 16 March 2018].
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