Having your baby at Frankston Hospital

Services we can provide during pregnancy and breastfeeding:

Childbirth Education

There are two different types of classes for expectant parents available through the hospital at a cost of $100 per couple.

  • Saturday single day (9am-3.30pm)
  • Evening series (Mon & Wed 6pm-9pm)

The classes are capped in size, and it is recommended that you book as early as possible due to popularity. This will allow you to choose the class that best suits your needs. This can be organised for you at your booking appointment.

Saturday classes run from 9am-3.30pm, and include information on labour, birth and breastfeeding only.

Evening classes run on a Monday or Wednesday evening, from 6-9pm on four consecutive weeks. These classes include a ward tour, and cover the remainder of the antenatal period, tests offered, how labour starts, labour, coping mechanisms, pain relief, birth, breastfeeding, early parenting, and healthy relationships.

Ante Natal Group Sessions

We have Nutrition and Antenatal Group Sessions available to attend free of charge, and these can be taken at any stage during your pregnancy. The sessions provide important and practical information in both areas of nutrition and physiotherapy, and are facilitated by a dietician and physiotherapist who have chosen to specialise in pregnancy care. These sessions can play an important role in the growth and wellbeing of your baby, as well as your own wellbeing. We recommend all first time mothers attend, as well as people in subsequent pregnancies who have not had the opportunity or who would like to have a refresher. To book into one of these classes, which run one Friday morning each month phone us on 03 9784 2600.

Tests and investigations

If you require any blood tests or ultrasounds for your ongoing pregnancy care (after 20 weeks of pregnancy), we are able to organise these for you, and will also provide you with the results as soon as they become available. If you are seen by midwives for your care and you need a doctor to review and/or discuss any of your results, we can organise that for you here in our obstetric or GP clinics.

Early Pregnancy and Postnatal Assessment Service (EPPAS)

EPPAS provides triage, assessment and management for women experiencing vaginal bleeding and/or pain in early pregnancy, before 20 weeks. EPPAS runs from Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm. It is essential that you book an appointment before attending. The phone numbers to speak to an EPPAS nurse/midwife for advice or to make appointments are 03 9784 7438, or 0417 340 535.

*If you have heavy bleeding or urgent concerns, please attend the Emergency Department or dial 000.

Breastfeeding Support Service

IBCLE registered Lactation Consultants provide individual expert help to both antenatal and postnatal women. Priority is given to women who have given birth at Frankston Hospital or who live within the service boundaries of Peninsula Health. We see babies from birth to four months of age. The service operates three days per week, Tuesday and Thursday at the Frankston Hospital Outpatients area (where you had your pregnancy booking in/appointments) and Friday at the Community Health centre in Hastings. You can be seen during the half-day of group drop-in if you have minor concerns or queries, or book a 1:1 appointment if you have more intense breastfeeding difficulties. Please ask the midwives for more information about the drop-in.

Bookings for all breastfeeding clinics either at Frankston Hospital or Hastings Community Health can be made on 03 9784 2600.

Allied Health

In addition to our care models mentioned above, we also have several allied health groups we work closely with to provide the best care and outcomes for our families. These include Social Work, Physiotherapy, and Dieticians, all of whom specialise in the area of pregnancy and the post-natal period. We refer women to these groups on an individual basis, as all families and women will have different needs throughout their pregnancy. These referrals can be made at the first booking in appointment, at any time during pregnancy, and while we are still caring for you after your baby has been born. If you feel you need to see any of these specialists but have not been referred, please bring it up at your next appointment.

Women’s Health Clinic

This clinic is staffed by a female general practitioner and experienced family planning midwives/nurses. Services provided include contraceptive advice, preventative health screening including pap smears, breast examination and menopausal health issues. This clinic runs on Monday mornings.


Clinics we offer for pregnancy and postnatal care:

Many care options are available for women on the Peninsula.
Care incorporates antenatal, postnatal care and women’s health services.

For all clinics (except EPPAS and your initial booking in appointment), appointments can be made on 03 9784 2600, on Mon-Fri 9am-5pm and Sat 9am – 4pm.

Booking-In Clinic

This is the first step in your pregnancy. It is advisable that you ask your GP to send your referral in as soon as possible, so we can provide a booking appointment in a timely manner. We try to conduct this appointment early in your pregnancy, to ensure you receive the important information regarding your ongoing pregnancy care. This is an opportunity to meet the midwives, and discuss your individual needs and requirements. We can assist you to choose the appropriate model of care, and provide access to any other programs or resources to help with your pregnancy journey.

Midwives Clinic

Our group of midwives provide antenatal care for healthy women with low risk pregnancies, in three locations on the Peninsula. Following clearance from your accredited GP (see our list of accredited GPs) or a hospital GP, midwives will provide your ongoing pregnancy care. During labour, birth and afterwards you will receive care from the hospital midwives on duty. This is available for women who are at a low risk of medical or obstetric complications during pregnancy, labour and birth.

These clinics run at:

  • Frankston Hospital Outpatients clinic
  • Hastings Community Health centre
  • Rosebud Community Health Centre (at the rear of Rosebud Hospital)

Team Midwives Clinic

Team Midwifery provides a continuity of care model for low risk pregnancies for women who have a philosophy towards natural birth. Team Midwifery consists of a small team of midwives who can provide your pregnancy care throughout labour and the postnatal period within the support structure of the Frankston Hospital.

Team Midwifery provides information and encouragement for the use of natural methods for pain relief in labour such as:

Active labour, Transcutaneous Nerve Stimulation (TENS) machines, bath/shower, heat packs, massage, music and meditation.

Team Midwifery provides women with the opportunity to build a trusting relationship with their midwives across the childbearing journey.

Team Midwifery have clinics at:

  • Frankston Hospital Outpatients clinic
  • Rosebud Community Health Centre

KMS clinic (Koori Maternity Service)

The Koori Maternity Service at Peninsula Health is for women birthing Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander babies, who live in the Frankston or Mornington Peninsula area. Our service is non-judgemental and confidential, and we support you and your family every step of the way. We aim to meet your specific cultural needs in a sensitive and respectful way.

Young Woman’s Clinic

This clinic is for woman having their first baby, who are under 19 years old. Through this clinic, we can provide you the extra assistance and care appropriate to you during your pregnancy. This clinic runs at Frankston Hospital.

Speciality Midwife Clinic

This clinic is run by experienced senior midwives, and is for women experiencing alcohol or other drug dependency issues, mental health conditions and intellectual disabilities.

High Risk/ Obstetric Clinic

This model of care is for women requiring medical management of pregnancy, due to high risk factors, such as significant medical and/or obstetric conditions. Hospital medical officers, obstetric registrars and consultants who are on duty will provide pregnancy care. During labour, birth and afterwards, you receive care from midwives and obstetricians on duty.

These clinics run on:

  • Frankston Hospital Outpatients clinic
  • Rosebud Community Health Centre

Complex Pregnancy Clinic

This is a speciality clinic designed to look after women who experience high risk or complicated pregnancies, who will require very close monitoring throughout pregnancy, with frequent specialist ultrasound scans. Examples of women requiring this service include women:

  • expecting twins
  • with type 1 diabetes
  • hypertensive disease (high blood pressure before pregnancy)
  • small babies (<10th percentile)
  • with pre-existing, ongoing disease. 

Shared maternity care with a GP

Shared maternity care with a GP is for women at low risk of having complications in pregnancy. It is a cooperative arrangement between you, a GP with a special interest in pregnancy care, and Peninsula Health. You will also need to see a hospital doctor at least twice during your pregnancy, just so we can keep in touch with your pregnancy process.

We have a list of accredited GPs available if you would like to choose this option.

Private obstetrician or private midwife

It is important to still have your booking appointment with the midwife early in pregnancy, so we can be aware of your pregnancy plans, and offer any supplemental care that may be required (e.g. physio, childbirth classes etc.).

An obstetrician accredited by Peninsula Health will provide your pregnancy care. You will attend their private rooms for all of your pregnancy appointments, and they will organise any tests or investigations required, as well as plan your birth with you.

A private midwife is suitable for low risk women. She will be in the position to guide you with investigations, tests and ongoing pregnancy care. You will need to see a doctor for clearance into this model of care, and we advise you to attend appointments with our hospital doctors later in pregnancy, to ensure everything is on track for a healthy and straightforward birth.

During your birth, you will be looked after by hospital midwives and medical staff who will work alongside your obstetrician. Your obstetrician or private midwife may or may not attend the birth. You can see a private obstetrician or midwife as a private patient using your health insurance, or as a public patient, covering your own out of pocket costs. This will not have an effect on your hospital stay.

Allied health

Sometimes during pregnancy, you may need to see an allied health professional, such as a social worker, physiotherapist, dietician, diabetes educator etc. We can provide referrals for these at your booking in appointment, or as the need arises during your pregnancy. Please ask about these services if you require any of them.

Helpful Links:

Having a baby in Victoria, types of carer, models of care, and places of birth:

Having your baby at Frankston Hospital:

Tests and investigations offered during pregnancy:

What we do in your pregnancy check-ups:

Now you are pregnant

Looking after your emotional health during pregnancy

Being pregnant can be an emotional rollercoaster – one moment feeling excited and hopeful, and the next, wondering what you were thinking! Hormones can wreak havoc, and you can be very tired, with your body rapidly changing and you may be sore at times. It is no wonder moods can fluctuate. However, there is some great information out there to help you know what the normal ranges of emotions should be, and when you might need a little extra help. If you have had mental health concerns in the past, being pregnant may also be a trigger for these to re-occur.

The following booklets are an excellent resource provided by Beyond Blue, which discuss emotional health for pregnancy and early parenthood.

COPE also provides excellent support options, and links to various support organisations. Please see the links below for more information.

http://cope.org.au/get-help/types-treatment/

https://readytocope.org.au

Post and Antenatal Depression Association Inc. (PANDA) – 1300 726 306

Mindful Moves

We offer a free program called MindfulMoves for pregnant women planning to birth at Frankston Hospital, which focusses on well-being, improving mood and stress reduction.

MindfulMoves is a series of six to 10 sessions, which incorporates breathing, meditation, and a combination of Feldenkreis and yoga practices, specifically tailored to pregnancy, which promote balance, core strength and flexibility in preparation for birth and parenting. Present moment awareness and relaxation is practised to reduce the effects of stress and difficult emotions. This class runs on Fridays between 9.15am-10.30am, and can be booked on 03 9784 2600.


Looking after your body during pregnancy

You are growing a whole new person and to do this, your body needs to go through a lot of changes. Your hormones help your muscles and ligaments to soften, to allow for your tummy to grow quickly. This can cause other effects on the body as well, such as bleeding gums, constipation, lower blood pressure and muscle injuries, just to name a few side effects! It is important to be as healthy as you can prior to pregnancy, and then maintain that good health throughout. Exercise is very important, as is a good healthy diet, regular pregnancy check-ups and dental appointments.

A few generalised tips for staying healthy during your pregnancy include:

  • Eat well and drink plenty of water
  • Regular gentle exercise, such as swimming or walking
  • Do not smoke
  • Do not drink alcohol
  • Do not use recreational drugs
  • Talk to your doctor about vaccinations for pregnancy and parenting
  • Always wear a seatbelt in the car – above and below your ‘belly bump’

As mentioned in our ‘Services we can provide during pregnancy’, we have Nutrition and Antenatal Group Sessions available to attend free of charge. These can play an important role in the growth and wellbeing of your baby, as well as your own wellbeing.

Did you know that breastfeeding helps to keep both you and your baby healthy? It reduces their risk of many illnesses common in childhood, with a few examples such as ear, respiratory and urinary tract infections, and reduction of their risk of SIDS, childhood obesity and diabetes, and some childhood cancers. Some of the benefits for mothers include weight loss, reduction in the risk of ovarian and premenopausal breast cancer, and reduced anaemia. The best time to do your research and consider the best ways to have a successful breastfeeding experience, is while you are pregnant. Consider joining your local Australian Breastfeeding group, and follow the links to find out why breastfeeding is so important.

If you or your partner smoke, please consider using this exciting time as an opportunity to quit smoking. We can provide assistance if you choose to do this. We will discuss this with you at your booking appointment, and provide information on our services.

Quitline – 13 78 48

(Arabic, Cambodian, Chinese, Croatian, Greek, Italian, Macedonian, Polish, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Turkish, Vietnamese)


Safe food preparation and healthy eating:

The following guidelines can help reduce your risk of developing Listeriosis (a bacteria found in soil) or other infections in food, such as gastroenteritis or toxoplasmosis (a parasite found in raw meat and cat faeces).

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly before preparing food, after handling raw food or prior to eating any food.
  • Keep stored food covered.
  • Thoroughly wash fruit and raw vegetables before eating or juicing.
  • Thoroughly cook all food of animal origin including meat, poultry and eggs.
  • Keep foods hot (over 60 degrees centigrade).
  • Reheat leftover food until steaming hot.
  • Only buy ready-to-eat hot food if it is steaming hot.
  • Store raw meat, raw poultry and raw fish on the lowest shelves in the refrigerator to prevent them dripping onto cooked foods or ready-to-eat foods.
  • Keep cold food at or below 5 degrees centigrade and keep your fridge clean.
  • Place all cooked food in the fridge within an hour of cooking.
  • Always follow use-by-dates on refrigerated foods.
  • Do not handle cooked foods with the same utensils (tongs, knives and cutting board) used on raw foods unless thoroughly washed in hot soapy water between uses.


Foods to avoid during pregnancy:

  • Pre-cooked meat products if eaten cold (e.g. paté, sliced deli meat, cooked diced chicken)
  • Soft cheeses such as brie, camembert, ricotta and feta
  • Uncooked, smoked or ready-to-eat seafood like smoked fish or mussels
  • Soft serve ice-cream or soft serve frozen yoghurt
  • Pre-prepared coleslaw and salads (e.g. salads from salad bars or delicatessens)
  • Unpasteurised milk or food made from raw milk, or raw eggs

If you have food poisoning-type symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting and severe abdominal/tummy cramping – please see your GP for advice and investigations. For detailed and current evidence-based advice about serving sizes and the types of foods to eat for health and wellbeing, please see the attached link to the Australian government ‘eat for health’ website.



Healthy weight gain in pregnancy:

You need to gain weight during pregnancy, however, how much weight you should gain will depend on how much you weighed before pregnancy. There are risks to being overweight, or underweight during pregnancy.

Below is a guide to the ideal weight gain for each stage of your pregnancy, based on your weight and height (BMI) at your first hospital visit.

Stage of pregnancy

Underweight

Healthy weight
range

Overweight

Obese

BMI ranges

Less than 18.5kg/m

18.5-24.9kg/m

25-29.9kg/m

Higher than 30kg/m

0-12 weeks

1-3kg

1-3kg

0-1kg

0-1kg

13-27 weeks

5-7kg

5-6kg

3-5kg

2-4kg

28-42 weeks

6-8kg

5-6kg

4-5kg

3-4kg

Healthy total weight gain

12.5-18kg

11.5-16kg

7-11.5kg

5-9kg

Unhealthy weight gain:

Pregnancy is not a time for strict dieting, just sensible eating. If you are overweight prior to pregnancy, you should not attempt a weight reduction diet during pregnancy.

To help prevent excess weight gain, take regular gentle exercise such as walking, swimming or pregnancy Pilates and cut down on high-fat and high-sugar, energy dense foods and drinks.

Healthy eating suggestions:

  • Eat fruit, salad, vegetables and low-fat yoghurt or dry biscuits as alternative snacks
  • Use low-fat dairy products such as yoghurt, milk and cheese
  • Trim all of the fat off your meat before cooking
  • Drink water or plain mineral or soda water
  • Avoid high-energy snack foods such as chocolate, lollies, cakes, health bars, biscuits chips etc.
  • Reduce the amount of fat (for example margarine, butter or oil) you use in cooking and as a spread
  • Despite the old saying that you are ‘eating for two’, the amount of extra food you need is actually small


Look after your teeth:

  • Poor oral health in pregnant women can contribute to lower birth weight and premature births, and increases the risk of early dental decay in children
  • Pregnancy hormones, morning sickness and some food cravings can increase your risk of having dental problems
  • Drink tap water every day
  • Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice daily, morning and night.
  • Use a soft toothbrush
  • Clean between your teeth with dental floss daily
  • If you have morning sickness DO NOT brush your teeth straight after vomiting – rinse your mouth with water first


Medications during pregnancy:

Some women will have pre-existing medical conditions requiring treatment with medications, e.g. epilepsy, Type 1 diabetes, depression, high blood pressure. It is important to continue taking prescribed medications until you have had a discussion with your pregnancy care doctor or GP, who will consider the risks and benefits of any medications. Always ask a pharmacist before buying or taking any over the counter medications, or alternative medications, as many of these will not be considered appropriate during pregnancy, for example anti-inflammatories, decongestants, or cough mixtures.

Please note – many medications that are not safe to use during pregnancy, are ok to take during breastfeeding, so please seek further advice for after your baby is born.

If you are unsure or require further clarification and information on safe medicine use in pregnancy, please use the following link to Monash Health’s Medicines information centre:

http://monashhealth.org/patients-visitors/pharmacy-top/drug-information-centre/


Do I need extra vitamins and minerals in pregnancy?

 

Recommended amount

Needed for

Sources

Folate

400 micrograms a day (start the month before pregnancy and continue for at least the first three months).

Healthy growth and development of your baby and substantially reduces the risk of neural tube defects (e.g. spina bifida)

  • A good simple supplement is a pregnancy multivitamin.
  • Folate is found naturally in raw or lightly cooked green leafy vegetables and legumes (e.g. chick peas, lentils).
  • Many processed foods now have folate added (e.g. bread, breakfast cereals, orange juice)

Iron

Varies – generally sufficient with meat and small amount in pregnancy multivitamin.

Making red blood cells for you and your baby.

  • Best sources are lean red meat, chicken and fish.
  • Other sources include legumes, wholegrain breads and cereals, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts and eggs.
  •  Iron is not as well absorbed from these foods as it is from meat.
  • Iron is best absorbed if taken with Vitamin C.

Calcium

1000mg a day

The development of your baby’s bones and teeth. Low levels in pregnancy increases your risk of osteoporosis later in life.

  • Most calcium intake comes from dairy products.
  • If you cannot eat dairy products, look for calcium-enriched food products in the supermarket.
  • Calcium supplements are available from the pharmacy or health food store.

Vitamin D

Produced within our bodies because of sunlight exposure – must be balanced with skin cancer risks.

Essential for your body to absorb calcium.

  • Sun exposure- the effect of sunlight on Vitamin D levels varies with age, skin colour, sun intensity, time of day and time of year.
  • Generally, a fair-skinned person needs to expose their hands, face and arms (or equivalent area) to sunlight for about 10 minutes a day in the summer; in winter or if you have darker skin, 15 minutes or more may be required.
  • 1000 IU per day of D3 if still deficient.

Iodine

150 micrograms a day when pregnant breastfeeding and pre-pregnancy.

The normal mental development of the baby.

  • Fish is the best food source.
  • Women with a pre-existing thyroid condition should seek advice before taking supplements.

Omega 3 fatty acids

Omega 3 fatty acids.

Development of the baby’s brain and nervous tissue.

  • Oily fish such as salmon, sardines and tuna.

Vitamin B12

Varies.

Needed for cellular growth and nervous system development.

  • All animal products including milk and eggs.
  • If you do not eat any animal products, you will need a vitamin B12 supplement while pregnant and breastfeeding.

Other products:

Some other products that you should reduce during pregnancy:

  • Tea, coffee and cola soft drinks contain caffeine. Limit to three cups of coffee, tea or cola drinks
  • Artificial sweeteners (like NutraSweet or EqualTM) and saccharin (like Sweet and Low TM) are all safe in moderation
  • Hair dyes, perming solutions and hair removers are generally safe for occasional use following the instructions
  • Household cleaners, herbicides, paint and poisons should be avoided during pregnancy. Check with the Poisons Information Line 13 11 26 before use.


Helpful links for looking after your body:

Healthy teeth in pregnancy – how to keep your teeth healthy and why it is so important:

Taking care of your back, abdominal muscles and pelvic floor during and after pregnancy:

Hip Pain during pregnancy:

Breastfeeding: why it is good:

Breastmilk and breastfeeding: benefits:

Poisons Information Line:  Phone 13 11 26


Normal baby movements whilst pregnant

Your baby’s movements are very important while you are pregnant. Please take the time to learn your baby’s patterns of movement, as all baby’s will be slightly different. Once you reach about 28 weeks, your baby should have regular patterns, and if your baby is not following their normal pattern, please phone the maternity ward straight away. Babies should not slow down in their movements at any time before birth, and their patterns should remain the same. For any concerns, phone 03 9784 7959 to speak to the midwife in charge in the birth suite.

Normal baby movements during pregnancy:

https://www.stillbirthcre.org.au/resources/bundle-of-care/decreased-fetal-movements/


Tests and investigations offered for normal pregnancy

Some of these tests, particularly the early pregnancy tests will be offered by the GP prior to booking. They will also need to organise the 20-week ultrasound scan. The rest of the tests can be organised for you by your pregnancy carer e.g. hospital midwives or doctors, shared care GP, private obstetrician, or private midwife.

Early pregnancy:

  • Blood test to confirm the status of Rubella, Syphilis, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, blood group and antibodies, haemoglobin, ferritin (iron),  +/- Vitamin D, TFTs, and contagious illness
  • Midstream urine test to check for signs of infection
  • Dating ultrasound scan, usually done between 7-11 weeks
  • Combined First Trimester Screening – involves two steps, blood test (9-13+6weeks) and nuchal fold ultrasound (11-13+6 weeks)
  • +/- non invasive pregnancy testing (eg Precept, Harmony). 11-13 week ultrasound recommended with this test also
  • Early glucose tolerance test if high risk for gestational diabetes
  • Second Trimester Maternal Serum Screening – a blood test taken between 14-20+6 weeks.

20 weeks:

  • Morphology scan to check the baby, this means we look at your baby from top to toe and ensure everything is in the right place and working how it should be

26 – 28 weeks:

  • Glucose tolerance test to check for gestation diabetes
  • Iron levels

32 weeks:

  • If your placenta was near the cervix at a previous scan, you will have a scan to check it is no longer low lying
  • Some people with previous low iron may have this retested now

36 weeks:

  • Some people with previous low iron may have this retested now
  • GBS swab offered and discussed at this appointment, may be advised to do test today if anticipated early birth (GBS is group B streptococcus – a common bacteria that lives on 20-30% of the population with minimal affect, but may affect a small amount of newborn babies)

38 weeks:

  • GBS swab returned if consent given for testing


Common discomforts during pregnancy

Common discomforts are exactly that – things during pregnancy that are uncomfortable, and quite common, yet they are also not particularly harmful. These are things that you can try to avoid, but at times, despite the best intentions, they may occur anyway. You can ask your midwife or doctor for more information. They may include any or all of the following:

  • Feeling sick and vomiting (‘morning’ sickness, can felt at any time during the day)
  1. Remember it is more important to keep up fluids than it is to have solid food
  2. Eat a dry biscuit before you get up out of bed
  3. Eat small meals and have frequent snacks
  4. Try peppermint or ginger tea
  5. Tell your midwife or doctor if vomiting is severe or constant
  6. Some medications may be prescribed by your doctor if simple measures do not work.
  • Food cravings or dislikes
  1. Increased sensitivity to strong smelling food
  2. Craving certain foods is common
  • Tiredness and difficulty sleeping
  1. Rest whenever you can
  2. Ask for help at work and home
  3. Avoid stimulants such as tea, coffee, cola or alcohol
  4. Do something relaxing before going to bed
  5. Doing regular exercise may help
  • Heartburn (reflux)
  1. Avoid foods that trigger indigestion (such as fatty, spicy or acidic foods)
  2. Avoid coffee, chocolate, cola and alcohol
  3. Do not eat close to bedtime
  4. Eat small amounts frequently – avoid large meals
  5. Take fluids between meals or before you eat
  6. Use more pillows under your head and shoulders when you sleep
  7. Antacids may help if simple measures do not work
  • Constipation
  1. Drink plenty of water each day.
  2. Do some regular exercise.
  3. Eat high fibre foods – fruit and vegetables, breakfast cereals, wholemeal bread, lentils and beans.
  4. If these measures do not work, speak to your doctor, midwife or chemist about a safe treatment option.
  • Haemorrhoids
  1. Avoid constipation, stay hydrated – Pear juice can be helpful.
  2. Lie down to rest when you can and try not to stand for long periods
  • Varicose veins
  1. Wear support stockings
  2. Lie down to rest when you can and try not to stand for too long at a time
  • Leg cramps
  1. Leg cramps are suffered by about 50% of pregnant women in the later months – they occur mainly at night
  2. Massage and stretch the affected muscles during a cramp
  • Back and stretching ligament pain
  1. As your baby grows and your uterus takes up more space there is even more pressure on your lower back, pelvic bones, bladder and other organs
  2. Regular gentle exercise (walking, swimming and cycling) can be helpful
  3. Posture is important so stand tall and wear shoes with low heels
  4. In the later months lie down to rest when you can
  5. Application of heat (gel pack) may be helpful
  • Urinary frequency (needing to pass urine often)
  1. While common in early pregnancy as your uterus and baby grow bigger in size and press on your bladder, this could be a sign of infection especially if associated with burning discomfort
  2. Continue to drink plenty of water
  • Vaginal discharge
  1. It is not uncommon to have an increase in mucous, especially in the later months
  2. The discharge should not be irritating, itchy or smell. These signs may indicate infection such as candida (thrush)
  • Vaginal candida infection (thrush)
  1. The recommended treatment for a vaginal thrush infection is a cream or pessary that is inserted into the vagina (follow the instructions that come with the medication)
  2. Wear loose, cotton underpants for comfort
  • Mild swelling to ankles, feet and hands.
  1. 80% of women will have mild swelling during their pregnancy. This is due to increased fluid levels in their body that may collect at the end of the day, particularly in the feet or ankles
  2. Avoid standing for long periods of time
  3. Rest with your feet elevated frequently
  4. Wear comfortable and loose footwear
  5. If swelling is not relieved by rest, or is moderate-severe, please see your midwife or doctor as soon as possible


Things you need to call the hospital for immediately

While some things can be common and normal during pregnancy, there are some things that we do not want you to wait for your next appointment to ask about. If you have any of the following, please phone the hospital for further discussion and assessment immediately.

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Waters breaking (ruptured membranes)
  • Severe pains in the lower abdomen
  • Excessive vaginal discharge in mid pregnancy
  • Regular pains before the baby is due
  • Chest pains, shortness of breath or calf tenderness
  • If you feel depressed
  • If the baby is moving less than before, especially if the baby is smaller than average
  • If you have had previous quick births and notice frequent, painless tightening of your uterus.
  • Fever not relieved by paracetamol
  • Sever nausea and repeated vomiting
  • Severe headache that does not go away
  • Sudden blurred vision
  • Sudden onset of severe swelling in face, hands and feet.

Please put the following phone numbers in your phone book/mobile phone so that you have them available anywhere, anytime:

  • The maternity unit midwife in charge on the birth suite is 03 9784 7959.
  • Team midwives can be phoned on 03 9784 7231
  • *Before 20 weeks, please phone EPPAS on 03 9784 7438 or 0417 340 585 during business hours, or the emergency department after hours.

Things to know about labour and birth

Signs of going into labour

There are several signs that labour is getting closer, including:

  • Contractions becoming more regular and frequent, lasting longer, and getting stronger
  • A show – the mucous plug which is painless, and is often found when wiping on the toilet n.b. it can be blood stained
  • Waters breaking – this may be a lot, or it may be small amounts that ‘leak’ at times
  • Lower back pain – a bit like a period pain
  • Loose bowel motions


Making a birth plan

A birth plan can be a great way to do more research into the type of birth you would like. This does not mean you are locked into your plan, but it gives the midwives an idea of things that are important to you, so we can try to make sure you have the best experience possible. Birth plans are all about having knowledge and being empowered to make educated decisions. Women who are involved in the decision-making regarding their births have an increased level of satisfaction, regardless of the type of birth they decide on. Some things to consider include:

  • General preferences e.g. food and drink, support people, music
  • Preferences regarding pain relief e.g. TENs, massage, water, support, gas, epidural
  • Labour preferences e.g. cutting the cord, position, support, what happens to the placenta
  • Preferences after birth e.g. feeding your baby, sleeping, when you go home

Many people will choose to labour and birth as naturally as possible, and will use natural pain relief options to assist in this. This may include things such as:

  • breathing and relaxation techniques
  • TENs (Transcutaneous electronic stimulation) machine
  • massage
  • active and upright birth positions
  • movement
  • support from birth partners
  • low lighting
  • music
  • water immersion in the shower or bath
  • dance
  • visualisations
  • reflexology etc.

Sterile water injections (SWI) are helpful for persistent ‘back’ labour, where the baby is facing away from the mother’s back, instead of towards the mother’s back. They feel like wasp stings, but have no side effects, and are generally very effective at taking the back pain away for one to two hours.

If you feel that natural pain relief options are no longer working, ‘gas’ (nitrous oxide) is a good next step, and may be enough to get you through. You breathe this through a mouthpiece, and are in control of the amount you take in. It can be set at several strengths, allowing for increasing levels of relief as required. The final option for pain relief is an epidural, which will require an anaesthetist, and will give complete pain relief when successful. The risks and benefits of these treatments should be discussed at your pregnancy appointments.


Birth choices available at Frankston Hospital

Normal vaginal birth

Normal vaginal birth is the best way to give birth, and we will support and encourage this whenever possible. We have a two baths for labouring in, ensuite showers in each birth room, and a variety of birth balls, wall rails etc. to help you remain upright and active. You will have a midwife to support you through the birth process, who can help encourage and suggest positions for comfort and to assist you as your labour progress.

Waterbirth

Some women may choose to have a waterbirth. Water is a natural form of pain relief, and provides an alternative option for comfort, relaxation, mobility and privacy. It increases the efficiency of your contractions, while reducing your need for other forms of pain relief. This option is available to low risk women, with straightforward pregnancies and labours. This will not be available to all women, so please discuss this with the midwife/doctor during your pregnancy, and sign the consent forms whilst still pregnant, to ensure if you decide to have a waterbirth, you will be able to remain in the bath.

Breech vaginal birth

If your baby is in the breech position, depending on which way he/she is sitting, you may be offered the option to try to turn your baby (ECV – external cephalic version), or you may have the discussion with the doctor of your option to attempt a vaginal breech birth. Please note, that in some cases, your baby might be sitting in a very cheeky position, for example – footling, where their feet are coming down first, and you may not have the option of either an ECV or a vaginal breech birth…

Normal Birth after caesarean (NBAC)

With increased recovery time following a caesarean (CS), and the other risks associated with major abdominal surgery, you might consider the option of trying for an NBAC. The advantages of trying for an NBAC birth include less chance of complications, less need for pain relief following birth, quicker recovery time, less chance of baby having breathing problems and requiring special care nursery admission, and less chance of problems in subsequent pregnancies, including stillbirth. The potential disadvantage of an NBAC is that your previous scar might start to open, although this is very uncommon, happening in approximately one every 250 births. In making a plan for you to try for an NBAC, your previous births, including the reason you required a CS will be taken into consideration, as well as the recommendation of the doctor at the time of your last birth. If suitable, we may encourage women following their second CS to also consider an NBAC birth.

Caesarean section (CS)

An ‘Elective’ CS is not actually a choice to be made, as the name implies. In fact, an elective CS is a planned CS and may occur for several different reasons during your pregnancy, the main ones being:

  • a previous CS
  • breech
  • placenta praevia (placenta covers the cervix opening)
  • a health problem the mother may have which would not allow her to labour and birth naturally

An ‘Emergency’ CS covers a range of births, from unplanned (e.g. a mother who had a booked CS but went into labour before the planned date), to major emergencies, where the baby must be born within a very short time from the decision to have a CS. We will always keep you informed along the way on your birth journey, so no CS should come as a surprise, and we encourage you to be very much part of the decision-making team. 

Elective caesarean (CS) instructions

For all elective CSs, you will be given a morning or afternoon time, and requested to attend the ward at a specific time. You will have some blood tests completed one to two days prior to admission. You will need to fast (no food or drink) as per instructions below:

  • Morning caesarean:
  1.  Have dinner as usual the night before
  2. Consider an evening snack prior to midnight (e.g. toast, crumpets, yoghurt)

NOTHING to eat after midnight – This includes lollies and chewing gum.

Drink clear fluids until 5am (water, cordial, or apple juice only)

NOTHING to drink after 5am

  • Afternoon caesarean:
  1.  Have dinner as usual the night before
  2. Consider an evening snack (e.g. toast, crumpets, yoghurt)
  3. Have a light breakfast – to be finished by 7am

Choose ONLY –

Tea or coffee with low fat milk PLUS cereal with low fat milk

OR Low fat yoghurt

OR 1-2 slices toast with a little jam or honey

NOTHING to eat after 7am – This includes lollies or chewing gum.

Drink clear fluids until 10am (water, cordial or apple juice only).

COMPLETE fasting (no food or drink) after10am

Helpful link for birth plan:

How to make a birth plan:

Breastfeeding information for during pregnancy and after birth

Unlike labour, which may only last a day or two, breastfeeding is ongoing, and requires dedication, patience and perseverance. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that all babies are exclusively breastfed for their first six months, and then breastfed alongside the introduction of solid foods until the 2nd year and beyond.

There are many ways to access support and assistance, and peer group support is one of the best ways to succeed in reaching your targets for breastfeeding duration. Consider joining a local ABA (Australian Breastfeeding Association) group, and do as much reading and research as possible before having your baby. There are some wonderful videos showing mothers breastfeeding, and it may help when your baby is born to have seen some of these. Babies are born instinctively knowing how to breastfeed, and given the right conditions of being placed skin-to-skin with their mums, your baby will move to the breast in his/her own time and get themselves into a good position and start feeding. While our babies have these instincts, and breastfeeding is natural, it is still a learned behaviour for mothers, so please do not hesitate to ask your midwife for assistance.

The Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) is Australia’s largest breastfeeding information and support service and is recognised worldwide as an authority on breastfeeding management. ABA supports and encourages women who wish to breastfeed or provide breastmilk for their babies and advocates to raise community awareness of the importance of breastfeeding and human milk to child and maternal health. Services include membership for both mothers and health professionals, a 24-hour Breastfeeding Helpline, local support groups, antenatal classes and numerous print and digital resources. You will find a wealth of information for both parents and for health professionals on their website.

Ten steps to successful breastfeeding (WHO)

Peninsula Health is committed to the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding. We aim to follow these ‘Ten steps to successful breastfeeding’ as recommended by WHO and UNICEF’s baby-friendly health initiative.

  1. We support you in your decision to breastfeed your baby. We acknowledge the many benefits of breastfeeding to your baby, to you and your family
  2. We will maintain a high standard of education, and ensure that care and advice given to you is consistent and evidence based
  3. We seek to provide pregnant women, mothers, their families and the community with clear and factual information about the benefits and management of breastfeeding
  4. We seek to protect the bond between you and your newborn baby from the moment of birth, so that there is no unnecessary interruption to the baby’s instinctive activities in beginning to breastfeed
  5. We seek to assist you and your baby to establish breastfeeding, and to maintain your milk supply for your baby even if you need to be temporarily separated
  6. We will not give your baby anything other than breast milk, unless there is a medical need to do so, and only with your signed consent
  7. We will not take your baby away from you without permission
  8. We support you in feeding your baby when you and your baby are ready to breastfeed
  9. We will not use artificial teats, dummies or other nipple substitutes, which may interfere with your baby’s learning to breastfeed
  10. We support and encourage breastfeeding support in community groups


Helpful tips for successful breastfeeding

To assist with a positive and successful breastfeeding journey, read this helpful guide during your pregnancy. It is written by lactation consultants within Peninsula Health, with the aim to help make breastfeeding easier.

http://prompt.phcn.vic.gov.au/Search/download.aspx?filename=36698178\36702118\45074596.pdf


Breastfeeding difficulties

Whilst many babies will be born with a strong instinct to feed strongly, for some babies this may not be the case. Positioning and attachment can be difficult following assisted birth, such as forceps, vacuum, caesarean or if you had used epidural or pethidine for pain relief. Skin-to-skin is a wonderful way to combat this, as your baby’s natural instincts when in this position will help him/her to move to the breast in their own time. At times, it will be necessary to express your breastmilk and offer it to baby by another means until baby becomes more alert and ready to feed. Your hospital midwife can assist with all of this, and if you have continuing difficulties, you can see the BFSS or a private lactation consultant.

Breastfeeding: baby-led attachment:

Expressing and storing breastmilk:

Many mothers worry about if they will have enough breastmilk supply for their baby. By allowing your baby to feed as frequently as they choose, you will be able to build up your supply quite quickly, and the majority of mothers will be able to produce the required amount of milk for their baby. Newborn babies usually breastfeed 8-12 times a day, and it is important to avoid restricting these feeds, particularly in the first two weeks of life. It is also not advisable to soothe with a dummy in these early days, as you can miss baby’s feeding cues. If baby is very sleepy and not waking for feeds, it is important to wake them every three hours to feed them, until they are more alert and waking for all feeds on their own. If your baby is not putting on adequate weight or you are concerned about your supply, please seek further advice and assistance from the ABA, BFSS or a private lactation consultant.

Is my baby getting enough milk?

Tongue-tie can affect baby’s ability to breastfeed successfully. Some babies will have no effect from tongue-tie, yet other tongue-ties can cause nipple damage, poor milk intake, and reduced milk supply in the long term. If you have any concerns, you can see the BFSS, a private lactation consultant, breastfeeding specialist or GP, who should be able to assess your baby’s tongue-tie, and advise whether a release would be worth considering.

Sometimes when breastfeeding, you can get lumps and bumps in your breasts. They are very common when your milk is first coming in, and will often settle with heat and gentle massage. However, if this is an ongoing issue, it could be that the milk ducts are filling with milk, and not being cleared effectively, thereby causing a blockage. Massage these gently in the shower, and whilst feeding. It is also important to see a lactation consultant for advice on your baby’s position and attachment while feeding. If your breasts become red, hot, and you start to have flu-like symptoms, please see your GP immediately, as you may have mastitis – an infection in the milk duct.


Helpful links for breastfeeding:

After your baby is born

What to expect in the first days and weeks after your baby is born

Having a newborn baby can be an exhilarating time, with massive doses of oxytocin rushing around and making you feel great! It is also a time of recovery and discovery – you have just given birth and your body needs to heal from that. You have likely missed sleep, and this will continue as you and your baby learn about breastfeeding and one another. It is important that people support you in this time, but also that they give you a bit of space and time.

Many new mothers feel uncomfortable breastfeeding in front of visitors and will put off their baby’s feeds until the visitors leave. Babies also often get passed around a lot between visitors, which can cause baby to be very unsettled later, when everyone has left, and you are feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. Skin-to-skin contact is a hugely important thing for newborn babies, and this needs to be with the parents. It helps babies to have access to their parent’s beneficial bacteria, as well as improving your baby’s heart rate, breathing and level of being settled. This scenario is often disrupted by large amounts of visitors.

Feel free to set your own visiting hours and tell people when they can come and for how long. Aim not to have more than four visitors at a time – any more can be overwhelming, and there is not much space for them in your hospital room. Alternatively – ask that people (except perhaps a few main family members or friends) do not visit you in hospital. Instead, use this time when you have a midwife on the other end of your call bell to become familiar with your baby, and access lots of help for breastfeeding. Also – rest when you can!

When you go home, you may find you are very tired and do not cope as well as you had thought you would. There is considerable help available, both formal and informal. You will be put in contact with a Maternal Child Health Nurse (MCHN), and a new mother’s group. There are many online parenting and breastfeeding support groups, and the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) have regular meetings you can attend. Consider having your groceries delivered so you do not need to go out. When you have visitors at home, ask them if they would be happy to make you a cup of tea or bring you a glass of water, and remember, accept all offers of assistance around the house or with meals – we need to grow our villages, and people love to help! Just remember, they would not offer if they didn’t mean it.


SIDS and car seat safety

Due to education and changes to sleep habits, the incidence of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) has reduced over the years, however, according to Red Nose, Australia’s expert organisation for the prevention of SIDS, we still have work to do. See the link below for further information regarding making your baby’s cot and safe sleeping.

SIDS: https://rednose.com.au/resources/education

Also, check out the links below for information on infant car seats and the safe installation. There are professional car seat installers available to put your seat in for a small fee, if you have never had a car seat fitted before.

VicRoads safety:

https://elaa.org.au/

Nino’s child restraint (how to fit a car seat)

Formula preparation:

https://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/micro/PIF_Bottle_en.pdf

https://raisingchildren.net.au/newborns/breastfeeding-bottle-feeding/bottle-feeding/formula-prep-pictures


Tests for babies after birth

Hearing test

After your baby is born, we routinely offer a hearing test, which is non-invasive (it is generally done while they sleep), and is done on the ward before you go home. If you go home early before this is completed, you are able to make an appointment to bring your baby back for the test. Early detection of hearing loss means parents can receive good advice and support from the start, which allows the baby the best start in life.

Newborn screening test (NST)

The other test routinely offered is the NST. Some people know this as the heel prick test, and it is done when your baby is 48-72 hours old, possibly while you are still at the hospital, or otherwise at home. This test looks for very rare but serious medical conditions that are otherwise undetectable at birth. You will need to give your consent for any of these tests.

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ConditionsAndTreatments/newborn-screening

Jaundice

Jaundice is caused by a build up of a pigment called bilirubin in your baby’s blood and tissue. This causes them to look slightly yellow, and is very common and rarely serious. Usually, just by feeding your baby regularly, this will pass within a few days. If your baby is very sleepy, or not feeding well, we may be concerned about this level of jaundice, and may recommend either a heel prick blood test, or use a skin sensor that is able to determine whether we need to be concerned, and whether further testing is required. If the levels are high, your baby will need blue light (phototherapy) treatment.

https://thewomens.r.worldssl.net/images/uploads/fact-sheets/Jaundice-and-your-newborn-baby.pdf

Hot weather and babies

While many parents worry that their baby might get too cold, it is equally important not to allow your baby to get too hot. Read the below link for advice on keeping babies cool in hot weather.

https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bf-info/you-and-your-breastfed-baby/cool

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/HealthyLiving/hot-weather-and-child-safety

Positional talipes:

This is a common foot condition in which the foot rests downwards and inwards, but is still flexible. Your midwife will show you exercises which you can do to help stretch the muscles and return the foot to its normal position.

https://www.rch.org.au/uploadedFiles/Main/Content/ortho/factsheets/POSITIONAL-TALIPES.pdf

Recovery after vaginal birth

Perineal care after normal vaginal birth:

Some women will need stitches to repair tears or cuts of the perineum (the wedge of tissue between the vagina and the anus) or vagina, which may occur during birth. There are different levels of tears, including:

  • 1st degree: small tear, only involving skin
  • 2nd degree: a tear which includes skin and the muscle underneath
  • 3rd degree: a tear that goes into the anal sphincter – the muscle around the anus, this can be to differing degrees
  • 4th degree: a tear which goes through the perineum, anal sphincter and into the anal canal
  • Episiotomy: a cut made by the doctor or midwife through the vaginal wall and perineum to assist with the birth of the baby
  • Grazes: splits in the skin on other parts of the vulva, and may require stitches at times

Recovery:

  • Have frequent showers or pour lukewarm water over the perineum after each time at the toilet
  • Frequent, short baths
  • Avoid soaps, powders, disinfectant, salts and creams
  • Change pads 2-4hourly to begin with, or as advised by midwife
  • RICEA – Rest (though not sitting for prolonged periods).
    • Ice – 10mins every 2 hours for the first 24-72hrs
    • Compression – firm fitting underwear with thick maternity pads
    • Elevation, you can lie flat with a pillow elevating your hips
    • Analgesia – paracetamol and anti-inflammatories can be taken if really uncomfortable
  • Avoid constipation and straining. Eat high fibre diet and drink lots of water. Use laxatives if necessary to soften bowel motions
  • Avoid straining and lifting for 6 weeks from birth
  • Stitches can take up to 60 days to dissolve completely
  • If you have an increase in pain or bleeding, smelly discharge, bladder burning or discomfort when passing urine, pain or difficulty opening your bowels or notice any sign of infection in the wound (you can look using a hand mirror), please let your midwife or doctor know
  • If you have a 3rd or 4th degree tear, you will be given further instructions for care before leaving the hospital

Recovery after caesarean birth

Caesarean Post Natal Care:

The midwife will remove your dressing on day four to six following your birth. It is then important to keep your wound clean and dry.

You may need to continue to take regular pain relief when going home from the hospital. Taking regular paracetamol and anti-inflammatories (such as ibuprofen or diclofenac) should be able to provide very good overall pain relief, but you may also need some stronger pain relief at times, which will be prescribed by the doctors before you leave hospital. Only use the stronger pain relief if necessary, as it can cause constipation. If you have any constipation, it is advised that you use a laxative, which can be bought at the chemist over the counter, or prescribed by the doctors.

It is ok to shower and get the wound wet, but avoid soaps, creams etc. coming into contact with the wound. Pat the wound gently to remove moisture, and if not completely dry, allow to air dry by lying on the bed for a short time. You may want to place a clean, dry pad over the wound to reduce clothing rubbing on it, and causing discomfort. You will need to monitor the wound for healing and signs of infection. If you see any signs of redness around the wound, separation or oozing, please see your GP immediately to have it checked.

It is also very important that you do not lift anything heavier than your baby, and that you do not try to rush back into strenuous activity or sports for the first six weeks.  You are not able to drive for at least four to six weeks following your caesarean birth, please phone your insurance company to find out their individual regulations, and also discuss with your doctor.

Your health and wellbeing after having a baby

The healing period following birth can be quite varied, some people seemingly bounce back, whilst others may still have ongoing concerns for many weeks.

Midwifery Home Care:

If it is your first baby, you had complications with your birth, or you are having breastfeeding difficulties, you may stay in the hospital for up to 48 hours, and then a hospital midwife will visit you at home within the next day or two to make sure you are going well. The midwife will visit between 8.30am-4pm. They can assist with any breastfeeding, parenting or recovery concerns you may have.

Midwifery Hospital in the home (Mid-HITH):

If you have no risk factors for complications identified during pregnancy, have an uncomplicated birth, can confidently feed and care for your baby, and your baby is well, it is safe for you to return home within six to 24 hours of birth. Most of the time this may be women who have had a baby before and are confident with feeding and parenting, however some first time mothers may also wish to access M-HITH. This is an extension of our ‘inpatient’ services, so you will still be under the care of the hospital doctors and midwives during this time.

Postnatal Depression:

It is quite common to have the ‘baby blues’, which can happen anytime around day three to 10 days after your baby is born, and is generally a very short lived period of up to a few days that you feel teary for no real reason. This is due to the hormonal changes and tiredness you often experience after birth.

Postnatal depression and anxiety occurs for about one in six mothers and begins within one to 12 months of your baby’s birth. Fathers are also at an increased risk of depression and anxiety in this period. It can sometimes be difficult to pick up, as the symptoms of depression can mimic some aspects of early parenting – like being constantly exhausted, feeling inadequate and having a reduced enjoyment in daily activities. It is important that you speak to someone and get help for this. Beyond Blue and Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia are respected organisations that can provide support and advice during this time, with 24 hour contact numbers on the back of your baby’s green book.

Lochia (vaginal loss/bleeding):

The amount of lochia (post-natal vaginal loss) each woman has can be quite different, but it is common to have quite heavy loss in the first day, with ‘gushes’ if you have been sitting or lying down for a while, followed by decreasing amounts in the following days. The heaviest bleeding is often settling within a few days, but the discharge which starts bright red, then graduates through red-brown, brown-pink, brown, yellow or white, and can last for up to six  weeks after birth. 

Resuming to having sex

Women will feel ready to resume having sex at differing times, but it can take up to eight weeks for the wound discomfort to cease. Often due to breastfeeding the vagina can also be drier. Try using different positions and lubrication to make sex more comfortable to start with.

Helpful Links:

SIDS :

Safe sleeping and cot to baby apps available in English, Chinese, Vietnamese, Hindi and Arabic:

https://rednose.org.au/page/mobile-apps

https://rednose.com.au/resources/education

If you require an interpreter whilst accessing the Red Nose website, instructions are available here:

https://rednose.org.au/page/translation-services

How to care for your pelvic floor after having a baby:

Beyond Blue:

Cope motherhood support service

What to expect in the first days after birth:

What to expect in your first few weeks after your baby is born:

Vaccination information for you during pregnancy and for your baby after birth

Pregnancy vaccinations:

We recommend two vaccinations during your pregnancy:

  • Fluvax – can be done at any time during pregnancy
  • Boostrix – for whooping cough. Please have this done between 20-32 weeks. Your partner and family or friends in close contact to your baby are also advised to have a booster if they have not had one in the last 10 years.

Rh (D) negative and Anti D

The Rh factor is the name for a specific protein attached to your red blood cells Rh(D). Most people will have the Rh factor (Rh positive blood group), but some people do not have the Rh factor (Rh negative blood group). If you have a negative blood group and your baby has a positive blood group, your blood may mix a little, and lead to serious complications in future pregnancies. If you are a RH-ve blood group, we advise Anti D to be given at 28 and 34 weeks, and again at birth if your baby is a positive blood group (this will be tested with cord blood at birth). It is also important to have this following a sensitising event, for example a blow to the tummy or intra-uterine bleeding from 12 weeks. Prior to 12 weeks, it is recommended that a smaller dose of Anti D is given for Chorionic Villus Sampling, miscarriage, termination of pregnancy or ectopic pregnancy.

Baby vaccinations:

  • Hepatitis B – given within two hours of birth, and the first of a series of four vaccinations (the others given at six to eight weeks, four months and six months)
  • Vitamin K – a vitamin produced by the mature gut not produced by the newborn baby, helps with blood clotting. This is given by injection at the same time at the Hep B, but can also be given as a series of three oral doses.

Helpful Links for vaccinations:

Hepatitis B vaccination for baby after birth:

Vitamin K for baby after birth:

Whooping cough vaccination during pregnancy:

Vaccinations before and during pregnancy:

Relationships, and partner/support person information:

Having a new baby is a very intense time, and it is such an important time to have the support of those around you. Partners, parents, siblings and friends can all make up our ‘village’. At times, these people may feel like they have been swept along with the tide, but never underestimate the important part they play in the care and support of the new mother and baby.

From engaging in pregnancy check-ups, and child birth classes, to reading the latest information on your stage of pregnancy, and making a birth plan together, all the way through to those early days of sleeplessness, night feedings and nappies, you, the partner or support person plays a vital role in this mother and baby’s life. There are more and more places to find information for partners or support people, and even peer support groups popping up on social media.

Please see the helpful links section for information specific to you – and know that your love, support and care are very appreciated at this time.

Helpful Links for partners, support people and carers during pregnancy:

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ServicesAndSupport/pregnancy-support-fathers-partners-and-carers

https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/we%E2%80%99re-together-%E2%80%A6-breastfeeding-partnership

https://raisingchildren.net.au/pregnancy/dads-guide-to-pregnancy

https://raisingchildren.net.au/grown-ups/family-diversity/rainbow-same-sex-families/same-sex-parents-story

Healthy relationships and pregnancy:

Healthy relationships and pregnancy

Domestic Violence:

Domestic violence is not ok, and you are not to blame.

There are support organisations that are able to help with domestic violence, whether you have suffered from physical, sexual or emotional violence, whether it is happening now, or has happened to you in the past.

The organisation Orange Door is a free service and an access point for women, children and families to receive support if they have any domestic violence concerns. Please consider contacting them, or attending to one of their hubs if you have any of the following:

Who should contact The Orange Door?

  • a person being hurt, controlled or being made afraid by someone close to them, such as their partner, family member, housemate or carer
  • someone struggling with parenting due to family conflict, money issues, illness, addiction, grief or isolation
  • anyone concerned about the safety and wellbeing of a child or young person
  • anyone concerned about the safety of a friend or family member

Contact Orange Door via

Internet: https://orangedoor.vic.gov.au/

Phone: 24/7 – 1800 015 188 or Bayside – 1800 319 353

Email: bpa@orangedoor.vic.gov.au

Address: 60-64 Wells St Frankston (Open 9am-5pm Mon-Fri, closed public holidays)

Understanding medical words, your rights and responsibilities:

Sometimes, trying to make your way through medical information can be a huge hurdle to access the information you actually need. While we always attempt to speak in words that are appropriate, sometimes, we just forget what we are saying – after all, even doctors and midwives are people! If we ever try to explain or recommend something that you don’t understand, please ask us to explain in a different way, and do not make any decisions until you are aware exactly what we are talking about.

Are you aware that every consumer of a health service has rights? The most important one to know is that we (the health service) should be providing enough information to you about tests and investigations, treatments or options so that you are able to make informed decisions. If you feel you do not know enough about something to make a choice, ask questions until you feel in a position to either give consent or decline to give consent (e.g. not do something). Although our recommendations are based on research (evidence based), everyone has their own set of values and needs. With rights, also come responsibilities, so please be aware of these too, and have the best experience traveling through the health system as you can.

Helpful Links

Medical words and terms you might hear during your pregnancy:

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ServicesAndSupport/medical-terms-and-definitions-during-pregnancy-and-birth

Rights and responsibilities in relation to health care services:

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ServicesAndSupport/confidentiality-and-privacy-in-healthcare

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ServicesAndSupport/patient-and-carer-rights-in-hospital

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ServicesAndSupport/complaints-about-health-services

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ServicesAndSupport/second-opinions

Translated information resources:

Health Translations

Royal Women’s Hospital fact sheets

(Amharic, Arabic, Assyrian, Bosnian, Burmese, Chinese, Croatian, Filipino, German, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Khmer, Macedonian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian, Somail, Spanish, Tigrinian, Turkish, Vietnamese)