12 Weeks Pregnant

What’s happening this week

Your baby…

  • now measures about 5.5 cm
  • weighs abut 14 grams
  • vocal cords are formed
  • intestines make their way into the abdomen now there is room for them
  • after swallowing amniotic fluid the baby can pass it out as urine
  • lungs have taken shape and primitive breathing motions begin
  • may suck his thumb.

You…

  • people may comment about your ‘pregnant glow” (the increased blood volume and pregnancy hormones working together)
  • may suffer from acne
  • risk of miscarriage is reduced now
  • abdomen is beginning to expand
  • nausea and tiredness may start to subside now
  • placenta takes over and acts as your baby’s lungs, kidneys, liver, digestive and immune system.

You may have your ‘booking-in’ visit this week.  Your LMC will want you to have blood tests if they have not already been done.  Take someone with you if you have a problem with giving blood or with needles.  It’s a good time to start thinking ahead about how you’ll be cared for throughout your pregnancy.

Your GP (general practitioner) is your family doctor. Midwives provide care during pregnancy, labour and after birth. They are expert at recognising problems when they occur and will refer you on to a consultant or other health care staff, when appropriate. An obstetrician is a doctor who specialises in pregnancy and birth; usually based in hospitals, obstetricians get involved in pregnancies or labours which need special care.

Who will be your Lead Maternity Carer (LMC)?

When you are having a baby you choose who looks after you during your pregnancy, birth, and after the baby is born. Midwives are the LMC for over 80% of NZ women.

Hospital-Based Pregnancy Care

The hospital team of midwives, specialist obstetricians, and doctors work together to look after you throughout :

  • your pregnancy
  • your labour and birth at the hospital
  • your stay in hospital
  • midwifery postnatal care.

Midwives

A midwife of your choice can assist you throughout your pregnancy, providing

  • care antenatally
  • care during your labour
  • birth and postnatally
  • birth at home or in hospital.

General Practitioner Care

There are few GP’s who are involved as an LMC. Your GP can liase/link with your midwife though.

Hospital Continuity of Care

This care is provided by a group of hospital midwives for women who are expected to require normal care. The midwives will provide the care through pregnancy, birth and afterwards, both in hospital and at home. The team has access to specialist obstetricians should consultation be required. Not all hospitals offer this.

Specialist Obstetric Care

You may choose to have private specialist care throughout your pregnancy, birth and afterwards. Private obstetricians, anesthetists and paediatricians may charge a fee for their care.  This option is not available in many parts of NZ.

Some women may not have all the caregiver options available to them, often due to past medical problems or problems with this pregnancy. Your caregiver will discuss this with you, so you fully understand the reason for these limitations.

Some obstetricians work with their own midwife and they need to provide a midwife/postnatal care option too.

Some questions you can ask to help you choose a midwife:

  • What birthing services does the midwife offer and how does she provide care? e.g. does she provide full continuity of care for her client?
  • Does she provide/continue care if labour becomes complicated or you need to be induced?
  • Does she provide care for women choosing home birth, hospital birth and water birth?
  • Which hospital does she have access to?
  • Who is her backup midwife?  What practice is she part of ?
  • Are her beliefs about pregnancy and childbirth etc compatible with yours?
  • How many women does she book a month?
  • How many weeks does she visit after you give birth?
  • Does she have plans to go on holiday during the months you will be needing her services?
  • Is she a member of the New Zealand College of Midwives?  When was her practice last reviewed?

Your midwife should act at all times in partnership with you and respect the decisions you make.

Routine visits

You are likely to be asked to visit your LMC every four weeks until the 28th week of pregnancy, then every two weeks until 36th week, and finally every week until you go into labour.  Although visits may be more spread out than this.

At each visit, your blood pressure and urine are checked for any early signs of diabetes, kidney problems or preeclampsia. Clinical checks include external examination of your abdomen to monitor your baby’s progress, a check for oedema (excess fluid in tissues) in your hands and ankles, and perhaps a weight check. Unless there is some reason for an additional check you are not likely to have an internal pelvic examination.

Between visits, make a note of any minor problems arising during the interval, and discuss these with your LMC.

Childbirth Classes

Have you booked into a childbirth education class yet?  Parents Centres are the leading provider of childbirth and parent education in New Zealand.

Go to www.parentscentre.org.nz to locate a centre near you.

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