So you’re pregnant!!! CONGRATULATIONS! …Now what?!
I’m writing this from the perspective of a woman who plans to progress through the pregnancy and into childbirth.
Here we are with those long awaited two little lines telling us we have about 8 months to get it together before a new human being enters the world and WE’RE the ones who will care for it!! (Don’t worry, fish and plants are a lot less resilient than kids. If it’s not your first child, you’ll already know this!)
So what’s the rundown?
The maternity unit at your local hospital usually has an antenatal clinic. (Antenatal just refers to anything during the pregnancy period.) If you think you’ll probably have your baby in a hospital then call to book in as soon as your pregnancy is confirmed. Usually you’d go with your local hospital but there may be individual reasons why you would choose an out of area hospital for example their stance on VBAC. At the same time, you’ll probably also arrange a date for your first antenatal visit to the clinic (sometime between 10 and 16 weeks). There are other options to having your baby in a hospital though, I go through them later.
At your first visit to the clinic, a midwife will help you complete the booking process. This involves answering questions and filling in forms. If you or your midwife have identified any potential complications you might also see a doctor for a full medical examination. Or you might see one or several doctors (through the Doctor’s Clinic at the hospital) during your pregnancy. You can also be referred to other health workers (e.g. social workers, physiotherapists, dieticians) who can help you during your pregnancy.
Choosing hospital care means you’ll have your baby in the delivery/birthing unit of a public hospital. Midwives and/or doctors will provide care and support you through the birth. After the birth you’ll be cared for in a postnatal ward by midwives, doctors and nurses.
If your GP offers shared care, you can choose to continue to see your GP for most of your antenatal care. You will see your GP for some appointments and attend the clinic for other checkups. It’s another option for women with normal pregnancies. Not all GPs do shared care. If your doctor doesn’t offer shared care, ask at the hospital if it has a shared antenatal care program and they can offer you a list of GPs in your area who do offer shared care. One of the benefits of GP shared care is that you develop a long-term relationship with a doctor who can continue to look after you and your baby once your baby arrives.
Midwives clinics, Caseload midwifery, Team midwifery.
Most public hospitals also offer midwives’ clinics. These clinics might be located at the hospital or a birth centre, or in the community (for example, at your local Community Health Centre). Midwives care for women with normal pregnancies throughout their labour and birth of the baby. Your midwife will refer you to a doctor if you develop any health concerns during your pregnancy. The doctor and midwife will work together with you to plan the best possible care.
In midwifery group practice or Caseload midwifery, a small group of midwives with an allocated ‘primary midwife’, will look after you throughout your pregnancy, birth and the first few weeks after your baby is born. You so you will get to know each other through the pregnancy. You will also have the chance to meet the other midwives during your pregnancy in case your allocated midwife is not available during your labour. Team midwifery is when small teams of public hospital midwives care for women throughout pregnancy, labour, birth and the hospital stay, with one or more visits to a consultant or registrar.
Birth centres look and feel more like a home than a hospital. You’ll be looked after in labour and birth by midwives. After giving birth at a birth centre, you’re likely to go home within 24 hours and have follow-up care by midwives at home. Birth centres are an option for women with normal pregnancies, but aren’t suitable for women with a higher risk of complications. This includes women who have heart or kidney disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or who have had complications in previous labours. The guidelines can vary from centre to centre so check with your birth centre. In a birth centre epidurals are generally not available. You will be moved to the hospitals delivery/birthing unit if you need medical intervention. Birth centres at public hospitals are very popular so if you think you like the idea, phone the hospital as early in your pregnancy as you can. Not all hospitals have a birth centre so you may want to search a bit further from home if it’s important to you.
If you would love to birth at home but aren’t in one of those few areas which has a medicare funded program, you can hire a private midwife. You’ll pay cash, around $6000 AUD, or claim on your Private health insurance. You’ll get a little back from medicare. Some midwives have rights to come with you to hospital if things don’t go according to plan. Otherwise you’ll transfer through to your nearest hospital and get whichever team is on shift. There are so many benefits to birthing at home that I’ll save that for a post all of it’s own. homebirth services provided by public maternity services are very popular
Here’s a table from the NSW government explaining things.
So what’s available to you in South West Sydney? Here’s the rundown…
Public and private hospitals & birth centres.
Campbelltown and Camden Hospital Birthing Unit consists of 2 assessment rooms & 8 ensuite birthing rooms, 3 with spa bath. Staff actively encourage vaginal birth and can support water births, (VBAC) vaginal births following caesareans and skin to skin contact. Early discharge program after 6hrs where midwives follow up at the home. 3 support people are allowed (pre COVID-19) but no children or visitors while in labour. Midwifery group practice is offered for suitable women. Bookings prior to 8 weeks. (02) 4634 4963
Illawarra Shoalhaven offers home birth and midwifery group practice as publicly funded programs for approved individuals in their catchment, please contact to see if your area qualifies. Wollongong Hospital Homebirth Service Wollongong Hospital (02) 4222 5000 or SESIAHS – AMICHS Illawarra Shoalhaven, Shellharbour (02) 4295 2418
Westmead Hospital also have a publicly funded home birth program that birthed its first baby in 2020. Only available to people in area. Cnr Hawkesbury Road and Darcy Road, Westmead NSW 2145 (02) 8890 5555
Complementary therapists and services in SWSLHD
Red Dragon Acupuncture. Park Central Campbelltown 2560 P:0421 305 399
In Touch Health Co. Osteopath, Remedial massage, Psychology, Naturopath. Shop 16, 1 Raintree Way, Mount Annan, NSW 2567 P:02 4648 3500 E:email@example.com
Private midwifery services
Geesje (Geesha) McGuire Area: SE & SW Sydney and Southern Highlands P:0477 999 845
With Woman Midwifery Care. Rachele Meredith Area: Sydney, Illawarra, Shoalhaven, Southern Highlands P:0421 721 497 E:firstname.lastname@example.org
Melanie the Midwife. 16 Valley rd Springwood NSW 2777 P:0425 280 682 E:email@example.com
Midwives at Sydney and Beyond – Robyn Dempsey Area: Sydney suburbs and lower Blue Mountains. P:0412 678 765 E:firstname.lastname@example.org
Jacqui Wood Area: Blue Mountains, Sydney and surrounds P:0430 109 400 E:email@example.com
Chantel Letertre. Registered, Endorsed Area: Sydney and surrounding areas P:0414 805 736 E:firstname.lastname@example.org W: midwifetomother.com.au
Midwife Jo – Jo Hunter. Registered, Endorsed Area: Blue Mountains, Western, Inner West, Eastern Suburbs P:0412 315 228 E:email@example.com
Nurtured by Karley Pregnancy, Birth and post-partum Doula services. P:0452 192 095
The Caring Collective. Chiropractor and Doula services. Campbelltown. 0491 758 428
I hope you now have an idea of what’s coming without it feeling overwhelming. This is the first post for Little Maia Wellness! Sign up for the email list if you want to know when new info is released!
Take it easy lady, and congratulations! You’re about to entering the most transformative time in a woman’s life. I’m so grateful to be along for the ride.