Pregnancy Care

General Information

Providing high quality care with a focus on the woman and her baby is our pregnancy (maternity) care philosophy at GSMC. This means that we emphasise continuity of care between the woman and her doctor at all stages of pregnancy, birth and in the months that follow. Our GP obstetricians provide pregnancy care to women at the clinic, and care during the birth at the West Gippsland Hospital. Our GP Obstetricians (GPO) all have the DRANZCOG Advanced qualification from the RANZCOG and work closely with the consultant obstetricians and midwives at West Gippsland Hospital. Our GPOs all provide both vaginal and caesarean section services.

Care Options

Because of the emphasis on providing continuity of care to pregnant woman, the majority of pregnancy care at GSMC is with the GP obstetrician (GPO). That is, most of a woman’s pregnancy care, including the birth and hospital stay, will be provided by her GPO.

Shared care, where visits are shared between two different clinicians is available. For women with special needs, this could be with a consultant obstetrician or midwife. For women with an uncomplicated pregnancy, this could be with her regular GP, if they are accredited with West Gippsland Hospital for shared care.

Please note, our doctors only provide hospital care at West Gippsland Hospital, and provide both vaginal birth and caesarean section services.

Timing of pregnancy care visits

Whilst all care is individualised to a woman’s specific needs, there are some common elements to pregnancy care for all women.

Early Pregnancy

Initially a pregnancy needs to be confirmed to be alive and in the correct location, and an assessment made as to whether there are any features of the woman’s health that requires specific care. Your doctor performs this assessment by asking many questions about a woman’s current health, medical history, family history and social situation, performing a physical examination and by ordering specific tests including blood, urine and ultrasound scans. It is recommended that this assessment occurs in the first few months of pregnancy, usually around eight to 10 weeks of pregnancy, and we recommend a longer appointment booking for this “new” antenatal” visit.

Throughout the pregnancy

It would then be common to see women monthly until 28 weeks of pregnancy, then fortnightly until 36 weeks of pregnancy. Finally, women are seen weekly until the baby is born. These “review” antenatal visits require a routine appointment booking.

At the first visit after 20 weeks of pregnancy and around 35 weeks of pregnancy, longer appointments are recommended for specific pregnancy care planning, to organize booking in to the hospital, make referrals for additional care or services as necessary, and to discuss a woman’s preparation and choices for birth and her hospital stay.

Midwifery care

It is usual for women having pregnancy care at GSMC to also have involvement with our clinic nursing and hospital midwifery staff throughout the pregnancy. In addition to this, all women planning on birthing their baby at West Gippsland Hospital will have a “booking appointment” with one of the hospital midwives.

Birth

All care relating to birth, whether this includes spontaneous labour, an induction of labour or an elective Caesarean section, will occur at West Gippsland Hospital. It is normal for a woman’s regular GP obstetrician to provide her hospital based care, but if this is not possible, then it is highly likely that one of the other GSMC doctors would be available.

The GSMC doctors work very closely with the other doctors providing maternity care at West Gippsland Hospital, and sometimes it will be necessary for one of these doctors to be involved in a woman’s care.

All women will have access to continuous midwifery care during labour.

Postnatal Care

While a mother is in hospital with her baby, their GPO will visit daily and organise her ongoing care. All women are offered a follow up home visit by one of the hospital based midwives through the extended postnatal care “EPC” program (please note that if you live outside of the Baw Baw Shire this will be provided by midwives from another hospital).

We recommend a follow up visit at the clinic between 1-2 weeks post birth. The purpose of this visit is to ensure that mother, baby and family are doing well, to follow up any issues arising from the birth, and to identify and address any early postnatal issues.

A final visit is recommended for mothers and babies around 6-8 weeks post birth. This is to ensure that mother and baby have recovered from birth normally, that the baby is thriving, that preventative care is up to date (cervical screening, contraception, immunisations etc).

Fees

GSMC is primarily a private billing clinic. This means that consultation fees are charged at the time of the visit.

There are reduced fees for Health Care Card holders, and all pensioners and children under the age of 16 years are bulk-billed (no fees are charged).

Please note that there are no fees charged to patients for their hospital based pregnancy care.

More Information

There is a lot of information and advice available to women when they are planning a pregnancy, are pregnant, or have recently given birth. Often this is helpful, sometimes it is not! Below are some links to resources that are of high quality, evidence based and recommended by our clinic.