Congratulations on your pregnancy! Here we answer some frequently asked questions and point you to some credible sources for further information.
I am pregnant! So what happens now?
Natural or ovulation induction pregnancy – If you get a positive urine pregnancy test, please contact SOH. We will provide you with a blood test referral to confirm your pregnancy and advise you of the next steps.
IVF/IUI pregnancy – Your IVF nurse will advise you to attend follow up blood tests to monitor your pregnancy hormone levels (HCG) and will advise you to continue or stop your medications (do not stop your fertility medications unless advised to do so).
When do I need to see the doctor?
Once you have had a blood test to confirm pregnancy, SOH will contact you to book you in for an appointment with Anju at around 8 weeks. At this appointment, Anju or our practice nurse will perform an ultrasound (abdominal and/or vaginal) to confirm viability, and Anju will discuss ongoing pregnancy management. For patients who live remotely, SOH can provide you with a referral to have the ultrasound locally, and organise a telehealth appointment with Anju to follow up after the scan.
The NIPT test (aka Harmony or Percept test) is a blood test that assesses your baby for several chromosomal conditions such as Down syndrome and is available at 10 weeks gestation. If you are local to Bendigo or happy to travel, we can perform a basic ultrasound prior to you blood test. If our practice nurse is in the clinic, she may be able to collect your bloods on the day. This blood test can also be done locally. Please see here for more information regarding the NIPT test: https://www.vcgs.org.au/questions/percept/
Who will look after me during my pregnancy?
Anju, her team and your GP will manage your pregnancy up until about 10-12 weeks. After this time, there are various options for pregnancy care and these will depend on where you live and the level of care you require. Anju will be happy to discuss these options with you at your appointment.
Below are some of the more common models of pregnancy care:
Hospital care – This involves being referred to your local public hospital for further management. The hospital will contact you when they receive a referral from your doctor to book you in for your first appointment. You will then receive ongoing care from their midwives and obstetricians. You will not be able to choose the obstetrician for delivery. Fees associated with this care are bulk billed.
Shared care – Some GP’s work in partnership with a local hospital to provide ‘shared care’. Under this model, most of your care will be provided by your GP and you will go to the hospital for scheduled visits with the midwives and/or obstetrician, and for your birth. You can check with your local hospital which GP’s offer this service. Your GP may or may not attend the birth. Your GP may or may not bulk bill your appointments, therefore there may be additional costs.
Specialist care – With specialist care, you will choose an obstetrician and an associated hospital. If you have an obstetrician in mind; that will determine which hospital you can go to. Otherwise you can call your preferred private hospital to see which obstetricians work there. If you choose a private obstetrician, you will be liable for their fees which are not fully covered by Medicare. Private health insurance will not necessarily offer full coverage. Ongoing appointments will be with the obstetrician or a midwife in the obstetrician’s rooms. Anju no longer practices as a private obstetrician.
I have been taking medication as part of my fertility treatment, do I need to continue this?
Anju will provide you with information about when to stop your medications at your follow-up appointment.
If you are unsure, please check with your Monash IVF Nurse or contact Anju’s rooms to find out.
Which medications are safe to take during pregnancy?
Not all medications are safe to take during pregnancy, including some over-the-counter vitamins and natural medicines. If you are unsure if a medication is safe to take during pregnancy, you should speak to your pharmacist, doctor or nurse.
You should continue taking your folic acid and iodine supplements during pregnancy.
I am having pain and bleeding, what should I do?
It is not uncommon to have some bleeding in early pregnancy. If you are having light bleeding, please contact Anju’s rooms or your IVF nurse and they will provide you with advice about next steps which may involve a blood test or ultrasound. It is important to continue any fertility medications you have been prescribed unless you are advised to stop by your doctor or nurse.
Mild pain and cramping is not uncommon in early pregnancy. Paracetamol is safe to take however you should avoid anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen.
If you are having strong pain or heavy bleeding in early pregnancy, you should attend your local emergency department for assessment.
This should be an exciting time, so why am I struggling emotionally?
Pregnancy can bring about many emotions, ranging from excitement and joy, to fear and anxiety. It is common for emotions to swing between the positive and negative, particularly if it has taken a long time to get here.
While it is not unusual to feel anxious or flat from time to time, you should speak to a professional if you are feeling flat or anxious a lot of the time.
A good starting point is to speak to your GP about the way you are feeling. They can provide you with further guidance around seeking support. This may involve developing a mental health care plan which can allow access to Medicare rebates on mental health services.
What is morning sickness and how long will it last?
About 45-50% of people experience nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy, and while it is called ‘morning sickness’, it can happen at any time of the day. For most people, these symptoms will subside after 2-3 months. A small percentage of people will experience hyperemesis, which presents as severe and prolonged vomiting.
Morning sickness can be debilitating for some people. Please see below tips for managing morning sickness.
Do I need to be careful about what I am eating?
Yes! Here are some links to evidence based and up to date information about food safety and healthy eating in pregnancy from the Royal Women’s Hospital.
Can I exercise during pregnancy?
It is important to stay active during your pregnancy. It is generally recommended that you maintain moderate exercise, for example walking, jogging or swimming, and do this most days of the week. If you are interested in continuing with strenuous activity, it is best to speak to your doctor or midwife about whether it is safe to do so.
Can I have caffeine?
Yes, you can have caffeine during pregnancy however it is recommended that quantities are limited. Food Standards Australia and New Zealand suggests limiting intake during pregnancy to 200 mg/day of caffeine.
Can I have sex?
Yes, you can have sex. It is also normal for the libido to change (increase or decrease) in response to your changing hormones during this time.
Am I allowed to travel during pregnancy?
The safest time to travel during pregnancy is in the second trimester. During pregnancy you are at a greater risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and therefore it is recommended that you wear compression stockings if you are travelling for a long periods by air or road, and do regularly exercises to keep the legs moving.
If your pregnancy is not high risk, domestic flights within Australia are generally safe in the first trimester. However you should check with your doctor, nurse or midwife before travelling.
Current research shows that people are more likely to experience family violence (physical and emotional) during pregnancy, which can have negative outcomes for both the mother and baby.
If you are at risk of family violence, please reach out to a trusted professional or contact a support service. 1800 RESPECT provides confidential information, counselling and support about family violence.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Specialists on Honeysuckle.