Pregnancy and Pre Planning
From pre-conception right through to birth and beyond, Bronwyn is focused on helping you achieve a happy and healthy pregnancy. You are welcome to get in touch to make an appointment to optimise your health pre-pregnancy. Bronwyn also cares for couples and individuals who may need assistance with conception or recurrent pregnancy loss. Bronwyn offers gentle, kind and collaborative care. She is approachable and friendly and will listen to your concerns, helping you work through them. She is committed to helping you achieve a safe and joyous pregnancy and birth experience and she provides ongoing help and support right throughout the postnatal period.
Things To Consider
Type of care
For couples thinking of getting pregnant, one of the most important things to consider is how you want to be looked after during your pregnancy. Most importantly, deciding who to trust with your pregnancy care and child's birth.
You may be weighing your options whether you would like to have care through the public or private hospital system or get a private obstetrician. Care provided through the public hospital system is generally free. However, there may still be some costs associated with blood tests, ultrasounds, etc.
If you plan care with a private obstetrician, you will need to think about doctor's fees and private hospital charges. Generally, most private health insurance policies will cover your hospital costs. They may cover some but not all of the doctors' fees. You will need to check your policy carefully to confirm what is covered. If you don't have insurance, you will need to arrange a policy before becoming pregnant. It's helpful to take the time to explore what the different policies offer, as there can be considerable variation. Most policies require you to serve a waiting period to become eligible for pregnancy-related events. Therefore, you must ensure that you know any waiting period requirements.
If you plan to have care through the public hospital system, you may not have much say over which hospital you will attend. Although there may be exceptions in some specific circumstances, you will usually be assigned to a hospital nearest to where you live. In addition, you do not get to choose a specific doctor or midwife to look after you in a public hospital, but will be allocated to a team.
However, if you plan to see a private obstetrician, it would be best to look for a recommendation from family, friends or trusted health professionals. Do some research as well. You may find that someone has a particular interest or expertise in areas that are relevant to you. This is particularly the case if you have certain medical problems or anticipate a higher risk pregnancy. Ultimately, you need to feel comfortable and safe with the person you choose.
One way of helping to decide whether you have found the right person is to have a visit with them before you get pregnant. If you like them and feel comfortable, this will give you confidence when you become pregnant. A pre-pregnancy visit will also allow you to discuss some of the health issues mentioned below.
From location, experience to a personality match, who you choose depends on what you're looking for in a doctor.
At Aveta, you'll be working with a certified professional focused on getting you the best possible care. If you want to arrange for a pre-pregnancy visit, please feel free to book an appointment by filling up the Contact form below.
When planning for pregnancy, eating a well-balanced diet containing foods from all five major food groups is important. It is also important to limit the intake of foods high in added sugars and saturated fats. It is helpful to be aware of these issues before you become pregnant. In addition, you should aim to regularly enjoy fruits, vegetables, legumes, meats, fish, milk, yoghurt, and cheese.
Fish containing high levels of mercury (shark / flake, marlin, swordfish, orange roughy, catfish) should not be consumed more than once per fortnight. Other fish may be consumed once or twice per week.
Pregnant women should aim to avoid foods at high risk of Listeria, a type of food poisoning that can be harmful to an unborn baby. Unfortunately, many foods have been associated with Listeria, and avoiding them can be challenging. Luckily, Listeria infection during pregnancy is rare, and most dietary guidelines recommend trying to avoid only the highest risk foods especially during pregnancy.
Some of these include: soft cheeses (including brie, camembert, blue cheeses, ricotta and feta), cold processed meats, bean sprouts, pâtés, raw egg, and pre-prepared salads. Be sure to cook and consume any meat well done rather than rare.
Consult your doctor if you’re overweight and planning a pregnancy. A discussion on an appropriate weight loss program before pregnancy is needed as severe dieting and weight loss during pregnancy are not recommended for mothers expecting.
When embarking on a pregnancy, the fitter you are, the better you will cope with pregnancy, birth and caring for a newborn baby. Cardiovascular fitness, strength and flexibility are all important. Exercises that help strengthen your abdomen / core and pelvic floor are particularly important. Maintaining fitness during pregnancy is also recommended to provide additional health benefits to you and your baby.
If you have health issues, you should consult your doctor before starting a vigorous exercise program. If you are already pregnant, you should consult a pregnancy care provider to discuss appropriate exercise plans to consider your stage of pregnancy and personal circumstances.
If you need assistance, we can help. Please feel free to contact us to arrange a visit.
other lifestyle factors
There is no doubt that if you are a smoker, it is highly recommended to cease smoking before planning your pregnancy. Rather than waiting until you are pregnant to try stop smoking.
Smoking is a health risk whether you are pregnant or not. When considering pregnancy, please be aware of the negative impacts of smoking on pregnancy. These can include: increased risks of miscarriage, preterm birth and stillbirth, effects on fetal growth and placental function. Smoking during pregnancy also increases the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and childhood asthma, even if you don’t smoke after the baby is born.
Although partner smoking may not have such significant risks to the pregnancy, having a smoker in the house can also increase the risks of childhood problems like SIDS and asthma. Therefore, you should discuss the benefits of ceasing smoking with your partner, as it can make it much harder for you to stop smoking. However, if you both stop together you will find it easier, and your family will reap the rewards.
Quitting smoking can be difficult. If you are contemplating pregnancy, you may benefit from speaking to your doctor, or contacting Quitline (137848, 13 QUIT).
During pregnancy, it is highly advised to avoid alcohol completely. That is because we don’t know if there is a “safe” amount of alcohol consumption in pregnancy, and if so, what that safe level is.
It is certainly the case that regular or heavy drinking in pregnancy can be harmful to an unborn baby, and should be avoided.
There are no illicit drugs that are considered safe in pregnancy. However, if you are using any illicit drugs regularly, consult your doctor, or a health professional to discuss the best strategy for managing this issue before commencing your pregnancy.
Folic acid supplementation has been shown to reduce the risk of a number of birth defects, including spina bifida. Therefore, it is recomended to take a multivitamin supplement containing at least 400mg per day. This can be taken for at least one month before you fall pregnant, and for the first three months of your pregnancy.
Iodine is important as an ingredient for the production of thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones in turn are responsible for a range of body metabolism functions, and during pregnancy can have an impact on baby’s brain development.
In Australia, iodine intake has decreased in recent years. Seafood, breads, dairy products, seaweed and eggs are good sources of dietary iodine. In addition, for women who are planning pregnancy, pregnant, or breastfeeding, the National Health and Medical Research Council recommends taking a supplement containing at least 150 micrograms per day.
These recommendations may not apply to you if you have a pre-existing thyroid condition. You should discuss your specific requirements with your doctor before commencing a pregnancy.
Many infections can cause problems if they occur during pregnancy. Some of these can be prevented or their effects minimised by vaccination. These include rubella, chickenpox and influenza (“the flu”). Most people in Australia are vaccinated against these conditions. However, even if you have been vaccinated in the past to these diseases, your immunity can reduce over time. Therefore, you should consider consulting your doctor to assess your need for vaccinations if you plan to get pregnant. Some vaccines can be given safely in pregnancy, and others are best avoided during or immediately before pregnancy. Your doctor will be able to give you advice as to which vaccines you should have, and their safety in pregnancy.
Having a “check up” before you start trying to get pregnant is often a useful way of optimising your health for pregnancy. There is an opportunity to address any questions you have about the issues discussed above. If you have any health problems your doctor can discuss how to manage these leading into pregnancy. This may also include a review of any medications you are taking to ensure they are appropriate and safe for pregnancy. Sometimes medications need to be changed, and this is best done pre-pregnancy rather than once you are pregnant.
Bronwyn, as your doctor, would give you the option of doing some blood tests to assess other aspects of your health in preparation for pregnancy. For example, if you are overdue or nearly due for a pap smear or breast examination, it is preferable to get these done before your pregnancy. You can also discuss any concerns you may have. For example, developing a care plan is important if you have had any previous episodes of mental health disorders (eg anxiety, depression, psychosis). Sometimes pregnancy can cause these conditions to worsen temporarily.
You may choose to have your pre-pregnancy check with your general practitioner / family doctor or an obstetrician like Bronwyn. If you have specific concerns about pregnancy, it may be helpful to see an obstetrician. On the other hand, suppose you still don't habve an obstetrician. In that case, a pre-pregnancy check up will serve as an opportunity to meet with the one that you may be considering. This is to see if you feel comfortable before you embark on your pregnancy with your doctor. If you choose to see an obstetrician, you will need a referral from your general practitioner to receive any Medicare rebates.
At Aveta, we are dedicated to meeting your complete healthcare needs. Please contact us via our form below to arrange for a pre-pregnancy consultation.
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