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.
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.
The hospital team of midwives, specialist obstetricians, and doctors work together to look after you throughout :
A midwife of your choice can assist you throughout your pregnancy, providing
There are few GP’s who are involved as an LMC. Your GP can liase/link with your midwife though.
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.
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.
Your midwife should act at all times in partnership with you and respect the decisions you make.
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.
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.