Antenatal care ideally begins with your pre-conception advice but a lot of the time begins when you present to the doctor to confirm your pregnancy. It ends with the birth of your baby when post-partum care begins.
The aim of antenatal care is:
- to provide early and continuing risk assessment to identify and manage any pregnancy complications and provide regular assessment of foetal growth and well-being
- to provide information on any proposed care and to enhance parent’s general knowledge of pregnancy and parenting
- to ensure that any existing illnesses or conditions are receiving adequate treatment
- to ensure parents have adequate support and provide specialised referral where necessary
Antenatal care is generally done by your usual GP up to 20 weeks gestation. Visits are approximately every four weeks and will be scheduled to coincide with regular pregnancy assessment activities. At your first visit you will be sent for some blood and urine tests to confirm your pregnancy, assessment important aspects of your current state of health, check your immunity to diseases that could affect your pregnancy and to determine your blood group. Your doctor may also send you for an ultrasound scan to confirm the current gestation age and your baby’s expected due date.