All about Antenatal Care, the essential healthcare during pregnancy, what to expect? How much does it does? All you need to know!
What is antenatal care?
Basically antenatal (or prenatal) care is the healthcare you receive in
the lead up to and during the birth of your baby. It all starts as soon as you
suspect you might be pregnant, when you should contact your GP to get
confirmation and work out what your options are from there.
It will vary after that a little depending on if you are choosing a
public hospital, a private hospital, a birthing centre or a home birth, but all
of these options will include a series of appointments throughout the pregnancy
to check on your health and the health and development of the baby.
What does it involve?
The first visit is at about 10 weeks, and then these are generally
monthly, and will increase in frequency as your due date approaches or if you
are considered to be at risk. Your healthcare professional will generally check
your blood pressure, may weigh you, and will provide advice and answer any
questions you have.
You will get lots of information about vitamins, eating and exercise and how basically to create
the best possible oven to cook your little one in. You will also be told all
the rules for things you are not allowed to do doing pregnancy, which is a really
long list and impossible to cover here, but just trust your doctor on this, ok?
If you have concerns you should take these opportunities to voice them.
Tell your doctor of any strange symptoms you may be having. Also confide in
your doctor if you are in any kind of situation which could put you and your
future baby in danger such as domestic abuse, financial risk or substance
These visits will also include:
You will often get to hear the heartbeat of your
baby or babies which is very exciting and I challenge you not to get a bit
teary the first time this happens
Ultrasounds at 12 weeks and 20 weeks as a
minimum, more often if needed
Finding out the gender of your baby if you so
Prenatal testing to check for certain genetic
conditions in the baby and health concerns of the mother such as gestational
diabetes and preeclampsia
This is also time for you to meet and become comfortable with the
different people who will be involved in the actual delivery. If you do not gel
with or feel confident enough about your doctor to feel at ease throughout your
pregnancy you, can also consider changing healthcare providers to one that you
are happy with.
What to expect at each individual visit to the
doctor during pregnancy?
The only reason why you should not have these appointments is if you
have literally no knowledge at all that you are pregnant until your baby pops
out. While this does happen from time to time, the vast majority of mothers
will have some pre-warning thankfully, and you should absolutely attend all
your appointments, do all the tests and get all the information you can through
the available antenatal healthcare system.
Each pregnancy is individual, and even if you have had a baby before,
you still have to go through every step of this again, no matter how much you
think you know what’s going on.
How much time will it take? And what does it cost?
It does take quite a bit of time actually, as you can work out by
adding up monthly appointments, plus ultrasounds, plus prenatal testing, plus
increasing appointments as you get closer. Employers should give you this time
as sick leave however as long as you have medical certificates, so you should
still be getting paid and not feel guilty for this in any way.
Cost will vary; it will all be completely covered through Medicare if
you go through the public system, and will be partly covered by Medicare if you
go through the private system. If you go with private healthcare, your costs
will also be partly covered by health insurance, then you will have to pay the
rest yourself. How much you are out of pocket in the end depends on what your
health insurance covers and how expensive your obstetrician is. Out of pocket
expenses may total between $2000 and $8000, but will generally be payable
across the nine months which helps.
Does my partner have to come?
This is a personal decision really. Some of the appointments, such as
the first one and any ultrasounds are pretty exciting so your partner or any
important support person may want to be there for that. Most of them are pretty
boring and routine and you could probably let them skip a lot of the middle
ones. However some couples want to go through every step together and that can
be fantastic; it’s really a decision for the two of you.
Antenatal classes are also highly recommended to be attended during
pregnancy but they are optional to attend. To learn more about what to expect
at Antenatal Classes, read here.
So antenatal care is a essential healthcare that you and your baby
absolutely need. It is time consuming, but doesn’t have to be costly unless you
choose for it to be. You should definitely not skip it because it’s time
consuming, as this is the beginning of something called parenting which will
pretty much consume all the time you have left in your life; you might as well
give in to the inevitable now. Seriously though, your antenatal care is a vital
part of your pregnancy, the health of you and your baby, and your general sense
of calm and emotional wellbeing.
Welcome to Babyinfo – the ultimate pregnancy and newborn information guide. We are here to help you find all the pregnancy and baby info you need to make the most beautiful experience of your life even better.
Our team is comprised of an amazing mix of experienced mothers, recently pregnant women, and editors with tremendous medical knowledge in the fields of gynaecology and childbirth.
Think of us as your friendly advisors, here to give you honest, easy to understand and authentic information. We are here to be your support at this crucial time in your life, when you need it the most.
Note: This website is in no way meant to replace doctors, hospitals, or other healthcare providers that may be utilized by current mothers or mothers-to-be. All mothers are advised to see a doctor for medical advice and the appropriate care before, during, and after pregnancy.