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Step 1 - GP Appointment

Discussion with your GP

Once you know or suspect you are pregnant it is advised to see your GP as soon as possible. If you choose to have your baby at South West Healthcare, your doctor will refer you to the Women’s Health Service (WHS) for ongoing specialist care. If you are suffering from nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, your GP can request an earlier appointment with WHS to help manage your symptoms.

  • GP discussions include

    • Previous Obstetric and Gynaecology information including previous pregnancies, miscarriages, pap smear status.
    • Your medical history, and also your family history which might include factors such as asthma, diabetes, genetic conditions, heart problems, cancer etc
    • Your emotional health and wellbeing
    • The doctor may also ask about any circumstances in your life that may affect your pregnancy, this is to ensure that all women are offered the most appropriate information and support.
    • Review any medications you are taking (including natural and alternative medicines) are safe to use in pregnancy
    • Ensure you are taking necessary pregnancy vitamins

Investigations in early pregnancy

Your GP will conduct and arrange a variety of tests for you.

  1. Blood tests and a urine test, all of which are intended to protect you and your baby’s health. See list of routine pregnancy bloods below that will need to be ordered.
  2. Prenatal testing will also be discussed. Screening for Down syndrome and other genetic disorders should be discussed and arranged if needed. Each test should be explained in detail however it is your decision whether or not to have these tests. There is a time constraint on some of these tests, so depending on when your first visit is with WHS your GP may need to arrange these tests for you and they will therefore follow up these results for you.
  3. Ultrasounds- Your doctor may order two separate ultrasounds for you. A dating scan to measures your growing pregnancy and help determine the date your baby is due. Also the Nuchal Translucency test which is part of prenatal testing if desired.

Early pregnancy testing & examinations

During your pregnancy you will be offered several tests and examinations. Every test and the reason for doing them should be explained to you by your doctor or midwife. Always ask the reason for the test if you do not understand or are still unsure.

These tests are recommended by your health provider with the intention of protecting you and your baby’s health, however it is your choice whether you want to have them or not.

  • Beta HCG

    To check if and how far along into pregnancy you are by detecting the level of pregnancy hormone present in your blood.

  • Blood group & antibodies

    Your blood group may be rhesus positive or negative. If you are rhesus negative, you will require Anti D injections during pregnancy to prevent the development of harmful antibodies possibly affecting future pregnancies. One in six women are Rhesus negative.

    For women that are Rh (D) negative please go to Australian Red Cross Lifeblood for more information.

  • FBE & ferritin (iron levels)

    A full blood count checks for general health and can indicate the presence of anaemia. Making the extra blood cells needed during your pregnancy requires plenty of iron, vitamin B12 and folate. Your iron (ferritin) levels will also be checked and supplements recommended if necessary.

  • Urine test

    Not everyone has symptoms with a urine infection so a sample is sent to see if you have any infection so it can be treated to prevent problems later in your pregnancy.

  • Immunity to rubella

    Pregnant women who contract rubella (Rubella | Australian Government Department of Health) are at risk for miscarriage or stillbirth, and their developing babies are at risk for severe birth defects with devastating, lifelong consequences.

    If immunity is found to be low, pregnant women are unable to have a booster immunisation until after their baby is born and will therefore need counselling on ways to reduced risk of contracting the disease.

  • Hepatitis B & C

    Hepatitis B (Hepatitis B | Australian Government Department of Health) & C (Hepatitis C | Australian Government Department of Health) are infections with a virus that affect the liver. It is important to check for evidence of infection or immunity so you can better look after yourself in pregnancy and to minimise the risk of your baby becoming infected during birth.

  • Sexually transmitted disease such as chlamydia, syphilis and HIV

    Syphilis (Syphilis | Australian Government Department of Health) is a sexually transmitted infection which may have no obvious symptoms. In pregnancy, it can result in spontaneous miscarriage or stillbirth or cause congenital syphilis infection. Syphilis in pregnancy can be safely treated with antibiotics, which can prevent these complications.

    Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) (Human immunodeficiency virus | Australian Government Department of Health) is the virus that causes AIDS. This can be passed on to babies during pregnancy and birth. If you are HIV positive, you will receive specialised care and health advice to reduce the chance of your baby getting the infection.

  • Cervical Screen Test (CST)

    A cervical screen test also known as a Pap smear may be offered if you have not recently had one. This test checks for changes to cells in the cervix (neck of the womb).

Ultrasounds

  • Ultrasound 1 - Dating ultrasound

    Your GP may order a dating ultrasound, this measures your growing pregnancy and helps to determine the date your baby is due, and also if there are any problems present. In the few cases where ultrasound reveals an unexpected problem, you may be referred for further diagnostic tests. This ultrasound may also reveal if you are carrying one or multiple babies!

  • Ultrasound 2 - Nuchal Translucency test

    Available between: 11 weeks 3days – 13weeks 6 days

    The Nuchal translucency ultrasound is used as a screening tool for Down’s syndrome by measuring the thickness of a fold at the back of the babies neck.

    This ultrasound can be done on its own or in combination with a blood test collected in 10th week of pregnancy, see  ‘Combined First Trimester Screening’ in the Prenatal Screen section below.

Prenatal Screening

Most babies are born healthy and well, but sometimes babies can be born with chromosomal disorders such as Down syndrome. There are screening tests available during pregnancy to detect a low or high chance of your baby having a chromosome abnormality and diagnostic tests to confirm a diagnosis.

Prenatal screening will be discussed with your GP or your obstetrician during your first visit, but if for some reason your appointment is not until after 12 weeks gestation, it is important that the GP discuss these options with you prior. There are many types of prenatal testing available so please familiarise yourself with them. Your Doctor will discuss these options and refer you accordingly.

Referral to the Women’s Health Service

Once your pregnancy is confirmed with your GP, your GP will send an Antenatal referral to Women’s Health Service (WHS). WHS is part of the Specialist Outpatient Service provided by South West Healthcare (SWH). WHS provides bulk billed Antenatal care to women.

Once WHS receive your referral they will send you a letter via email or post to book your first antenatal appointment with your Midwife (usually around 8-10 weeks via Telehealth) and a second appointment to come to WHS to see a doctor (usually around 10-12 weeks).

Page last updated: 18 July 2022

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