Overall, GPs have limited involvement in private hospital settings but they’re usually the first health professional you’ll see when you find out you’re pregnant.
In Australia, GPs (general practitioners) are doctors who have completed specialist medical training after their university medical degree. This training usually takes another three years. GPs know how to promote general health and treat many different health problems across all age groups.
Your GP is your first important point of medical contact if you think you might be pregnant.
Your GP will arrange tests, check your health, ask you about any previous pregnancies and your medical history, discuss pregnancy care and refer you to a private obstetrician or private hospital of your choice. Your GP can also discuss any lifestyle changes you need to make – for example, quitting smoking and alcohol during pregnancy.
If you live rurally, check with your GP about options for pregnancy care in your area.
Your GP is usually the first person to go to if you have general health problems during pregnancy, like nausea and vomiting.
In most private hospital settings, your GP won’t attend the birth. But if you live in a rural or remote area, your GP might attend the birth.
If you’ve seen a GP throughout your pregnancy, you might see this GP for your six-week check. Most women have their six-week check after the birth with their obstetrician.
After this, your GP is the first person to go to if you have any medical concerns about yourself or your baby.
For your general care, it’s good to find a GP you feel comfortable with, so that you can get to know each other and talk openly. A GP who knows you can help you make good choices about your care.
Some GPs bulk bill. If they don’t, you pay the difference between their fee and the Medicare rebate.