Pregnancy: I Think I'm Pregnant, What's Next?
There will be many questions you may have and we know the pregnancy journey can seem a little overwhelming so here are some simple steps to get you started:
Step 1: See your General Practitioner (GP) who will:
- Confirm your pregnancy
- Complete a physical examination
- Discuss pregnancy care options
- Send us a referral
- Organise initial blood tests (PDF, 53kB)
- Organise your ultrasound scans, which may include:
- Dating ultrasound – to determine when your expected due date is when the timing of your last menstrual period is unknown.
- Nuchal translucency ultrasound – performed between 11-13+6 weeks to determine if your pregnancy is at higher risk of chromosomal anomalies, particularly Down Syndrome (Trisomy 21), but also Trisomy 13 and 18. Blood tests (Beta HCG, PAPP-A) are also requested to calculate the risk. This scan is available to all women and is only performed at private radiology practices in the region.
- Morphology ultrasound – performed between 18 – 22 weeks and is to check that your baby is developing normally. This is recommended for all women and is available at the hospital radiology department as well as private radiology practices throughout the region.
Step 2: Cairns Hospital Antenatal Clinic
The earlier we receive your GP referral, the sooner we can schedule the most appropriate appointment for you to commence the hospital booking process.
Step 3: Your antenatal booking-in appointment
This is your first appointment (ideally sometime between 12 – 16 weeks pregnant), and the interview will take about 90 minutes. Many women attend this appointment alone, however, you are welcome to bring your partner / other children (please note that there are no childcare facilities at any of the clinics and space is limited).
The midwife will ask you questions about:
- Your last period and your menstrual cycle
- Previous pregnancies
- Your health, if you have had any illnesses or operations, taking any medication and if you have any medical problems e.g. High blood pressure, diabetes
- The health of your family, which includes your partner and parents
- If you have had postnatal depression, depression or any other mental illness
The midwife will also give you advice and information about:
- Options for care during pregnancy
- Diet / Exercise
- Minor disorders of pregnancy e.g. morning sickness
- Infant feeding
- Childbirth education classes
- When to come to hospital and what to bring
- Stages of labour
- Vitamin K for your baby
- Neonatal screening tests
- Neonatal immunisations
- Expected length of stay in hospital
- Recommended vaccinations in pregnancy
At this first appointment your pregnancy will be categorised (A, B or C) according to any conditions that you may have:
- Category A – Low risk: GP or Midwifery Group practice (MGP) care
You do not require a doctor’s appointment with the Obstetric team at the hospital antenatal clinic. If you are having GP care you will need an appointment at 36 weeks at the hospital antenatal clinic and this will be with a midwife to discuss coming to hospital, birth plans, what to expect etc.
- Category B – Medium risk: combined Obstetric care with GP or MGP Midwife
You will require a doctor’s appointment with the Obstetric team at the hospital antenatal clinic at 20 weeks, but you may be eligible for GP or Midwifery care depending on the nature of your risk. If you are eligible for GP or Midwifery care you will also require a 36 week appointment at the hospital Obstetric antenatal clinic to see one of the doctor’s again.
- Category C – High risk: Obstetric care at Cairns Hospital (in some instances can be combined with GP)
You will require a doctor’s appointment with the Obstetric team at the hospital antenatal clinic between 12 – 20 weeks and most of your care will be with the Obstetric team at Cairns Hospital although you may be eligible to have some care with your GP or Midwife as well.
It is important that you arrive to your appointment on time because if you are late your appointment will be rescheduled.