Having a baby can be a wonderful journey, and it is a journey that many people can share in, and have a positive impact.
They say it takes a village to raise a child, and it is great if you can gather those around who will guide and support you.
If you do not have a big social support network, consider joining pregnancy and breastfeeding support groups, or finding out about having a student midwife to share your journey.
Steps during pregnancy
Step 1 – Speak to your GP
Speak to your GP to confirm your pregnancy. They will order blood tests including; Rubella, HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Syphilis, blood group and antibodies, iron levels, as well as a urine test. Sometimes, they may also check things like your thyroid function, Vitamin D levels, and other infectious illness like chicken pox or parvo virus.
Step 2 – Referral for dating scan
The GP may give you a referral for a dating scan, which should ideally be around eight weeks of pregnancy.
Step 3 – Genetic screening tests
The GP will offer genetic screening tests, which may come as:
- An NIPT (non-invasive pregnancy testing), which is a blood test done from 10 weeks onwards; you will also need an 11-13 week ultrasound done.
- or a combined ultrasound at 11+1 weeks -13+6 weeks and blood test done between 9 weeks – 13+6 weeks (maternal serum screening).
Some people will choose to do both, and others may choose not to do any at all. It is important to discuss these options with your GP.
Step 4 – Referral to hospital
Your GP will refer you to the hospital for your booking appointment. This referral should be received by the hospital as early in your pregnancy as possible – ideally in the first trimester/less than 13 weeks. You will receive confirmation of this in the mail, along with a list of accredited GPs, information about childbirth classes, and a health survey, which assists us in your booking appointment.
Step 5 – Hospital appointment
You will attend an hospital appointment to discuss your pregnancy. Please bring your survey, and any test or ultrasound results you have to your booking in appointment.
Step 6 – Prepare for birth
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.
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
As you approach your final trimester, make sure you have a current ambulance subscription, in case of emergency.
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
What to pack for the hospital
Being organised beforehand can give you peace of mind before having your baby. A hospital bag packed with everything you need when it’s time to have your baby should be on your list of things to do as you approach your due date.
What to pack for yourself
- Relevant documents including Medicare/Pension/Health Care/Insurance Card
- Current prescription medications (including insulin and diabetes test kit if diabetic)
- Victorian Medical Record (VMR)
- Labour and birth plan if you have made one
- Snacks and drinks for parents and support people to eat during labour and after birth
- Cotton nightie or t-shirt to wear in labour
- Dressing gown and slippers/thongs
- Wireless speakers and music, positive affirmations or meditation sounds for during labour
- Comfortable clothes for daywear
- Two nursing bras
- Firm supportive high-waisted underwear
- Two packs maternity sanitary pads
- One box of nursing pads
- Credit card/money for parking if parked onsite
Do not pack
- Essential oils or diffusers.
- Valuables such as jewellery or large amounts of money. Peninsula Health cannot be held responsible for any loss.
What to pack for your baby
- Bunny rugs
- Nappies and wipes
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.
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 second year and beyond.
- Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Services at Peninsula Health
- Australian Breastfeeding Association
- Breastfeeding with confidence
- Breastfeeding: why it is good
- Breastmilk and breastfeeding: benefits
- Breastfeeding: how dads can help
- Nipple shield use
Tests for newborn babies
For newborn babies, Peninsula Health completes a series of tests to ensure your baby is at full health. Learn more here.