Antenatal appointments are simply appointments that you have during pregnancy. Your health professional will give you a plan of appointments at your first pregnancy visit. In early pregnancy, your appointments are likely to be every four to six weeks. At your first appointment, your GP, obstetrician or midwife will:
- ask about your general health and medical history, including previous pregnancies and births, and your mental health
- ask whether you’ve had a pap test lately
- check your blood pressure
- listen to your heart and lungs
- check your tummy area
- weigh and measure you
- check your urine
- send you off for tests – like blood or early pregnancy screening tests, if needed – and talk about test results
- answer any questions or worries – for example, you might like to ask about vaginal and caesarean birth.
Antenatal appointments are your chance to talk about your health, lifestyle and wellbeing, both physical and emotional. If you’re worried about becoming a parent or having problems in your relationship, including family violence, it’s a good idea for you to talk about this too. In fact, most antenatal services routinely ask women about domestic violence during pregnancy, to give them the chance to talk about it and to let them know that there is extra support and care available. Your health professional can let you know where to get support if you need it.
Your early pregnancy appointments are likely to be with a midwife or doctor at the hospital or in the community. Or you might choose ‘shared care’. This means some of your appointments are with your GP and some in the hospital where you will have your baby.
Your early pregnancy appointments are likely to be with your obstetrician at the obstetrician’s consulting rooms. Many private obstetricians also employ a midwife in their rooms who you will see through your pregnancy as well. At one or more of these appointments, the obstetrician will talk with you about which private hospital you would like to go to for the birth.
Your early pregnancy appointments are likely to be with a midwife at the birth centre. If any problems are picked up, the midwife will refer you to an obstetrician for a consultation.
If you are having a homebirth either with a private midwife or through a publicly funded homebirth program your pregnancy appointments will be with a midwife in your home, hospital or in the community. If any problems are picked up, the midwife will refer you to an obstetrician for a consultation.
Asking for women carers
Some women want only women health professionals to care for them during pregnancy, labour and birth. You can ask for a woman midwife or doctor, but it might not be possible to have one – especially if you or your baby need urgent or specialised medical attention.