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Cheat Sheet

Pregnancy For Dummies (Australia/New Zealand Edition)

Once you find out you’re pregnant, you can take note of the schedule of prenatal visits your midwife or doctor is likely to recommend in Australia and New Zealand, and review the tests you may be offered through your pregnancy. Understanding common medical abbreviations used during pregnancy and birth can help you feel more comfortable, as can packing a bag with all the items you may need for your labour. You can also understand and enjoy your pregnancy by keeping track of baby’s developments, and continuing to eat well and stay active.

Typical Schedule for Prenatal Visits and Tests in Australia and New Zealand

To ensure the health of you and your baby, you need to schedule regular visits to your midwife or doctor during your pregnancy. Use this guideline for making your appointments and understanding tests that may be offered through your pregnancy if giving birth in Australia or New Zealand.

Note: If you have health issues or develop problems during pregnancy, you may need to see your midwife or doctor more often than the schedule outlined here.

Stage of pregnancy Details of visit and tests
6 to 12 weeks Visit your local midwife or GP for a pregnancy test and prenatal screening. Blood tests to check your health and wellbeing and identify any risks to the baby. Mid stream urine sample to check for symptomless urinary tract infections. A dating ultrasound may be advised if you’re unsure of the first day of your last menstrual period or date of conception
11 to 13 weeks Nuchal translucency scan (using ultra sound) to screen for chromosomal abnormalities in the baby. Blood tests for free ßhcg and PAPP-A may be recommended for use in conjunction with scan
10 to 14 weeks Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) may be offered if you’re at high risk of the baby having a chromosomal abnormality
15 to 20 weeks (ideal time 16 weeks) Triple or Quadruple test to screen for Down syndrome and neural tube defects. Amniocentesis to screen for chromosomal abnormalities in the baby in women with an increased risk
18 to 20 weeks Morphology ultrasound to look for abnormalities in the baby, placenta or amniotic fluid
18 to 20 weeks First visit at the hospital clinic or with your private midwife or obstetrician
24 to 26 weeks Regular check up with a midwife, GP or obstetrician
24 to 28 weeks Glucose tolerance test to check for gestational diabetes in women at increased risk
28 weeks Full blood count to check for anaemia. Blood group and antibodies test to monitor women with a negative blood group for antibodies in their blood
28 to 30 weeks Regular check up with a midwife, GP or obstetrician
32 to 33 weeks Regular check up with a midwife, GP or obstetrician
36 weeks Regular check up with hospital staff, midwife or obstetrician*. Group B strep swab to screen for the Group B Streptococcus bacteria in the vagina or anus
38 weeks Regular check up with hospital staff, midwife or doctor
40 weeks Regular check up with hospital staff, midwife or doctor
41 weeks Regular check up with hospital staff, midwife or doctor
42 weeks Postdates visit with hospital staff, midwife or doctor

* If seeing a shared-care GP, you generally start being seen at a hospital from 36 weeks.

Medical Abbreviations Commonly Used during Pregnancy in Australia and New Zealand

To help you understand terms used throughout your pregnancy while at doctor’s visits, touring the hospital, and during labor and delivery, learn these medical abbreviations used in Australia and New Zealand, and what they mean:

Abbreviation What it stands for
AFP Alpha-fetoprotein
APH Antepartum Haemorrhage
ARM Artificial Rupture of Membranes
BP Blood Pressure
CTG Cardiotocograph
CVS Chorionic Villus Sampling
EBM Expressed Breast Milk
EDC or EDD Estimated Date of Confinement or Estimated Due Date
FHS Fetal Heart Sounds
G Gravida
HSV Herpes Simplex Virus
LGA Large for Gestational Age
LMP Last Menstrual Period
PE Pre eclampsia
P Parity
PP Presenting Part
PPH Postpartum Haemorrhage
SGA Small for Gestational Age
VE Vaginal Examination

Items for Your Labour and Delivery in Australia and New Zealand

During your pregnancy, pack portable items you’re likely to need for your labour, birth and hospital stay in a bag and keep it in a handy place or in your car. For your trip to the hospital in Australia or New Zealand you need:

  • A camera and video camera (don’t forget your chargers)

  • Copy of your birth plan

  • Drinks — fruit juice, soup, tea or water

  • Face cloth — ideal to cool your neck and face

  • Health insurance information and Medicare card — Australia only

  • Hot pack/hot water bottle/wheat pack

  • Large T-shirt (much more comfortable than a hospital gown)

  • Light nourishing food for you and support people

  • Lip balm or lanolin

  • Lollies such as barley sugar

  • Massage oil — almond, olive or vegetable oil

  • Maternity pads and several pairs of underpants

  • Mobile phone and charger

  • Pillows (in case of a shortage or restriction)

  • Pregnancy hand-held record

  • Radio, CE or mp3 player, if you find music relaxing

  • Socks to warm cold feet

  • Swimmers for your partner to wear when assisting you under the shower or in the spa

Important Milestones in Your Baby’s Development through Pregnancy

As your baby’s develops through your pregnancy, certain milestones are hit along the way. Here’s a summary of your baby’s development from conception to birth:

Week Milestone
3 Baby is known as an embryo.
9 Baby is known as a fetus.
12 Baby begins to move (though you won’t feel the movement). Placenta is fully functional.
14 Second trimester begins.
16 Baby’s main organs are now completely formed. Colostrum (the first breast milk) is present.
20 Baby’s movements can be felt (though you might feel movement earlier).
24 Baby’s eyes open.
28 Third trimester begins. Baby can hear sounds and voices.
37 Baby’s development is complete. Baby is getting ready for birth.
40 Estimated due date

Eating Well and Keeping Fit and Healthy While Pregnant

During your pregnancy, ensuring you eat well and keep active is vital. Keep in mind that no single food can satisfy all of your nutritional needs and that nutritionists recommend a well-balanced diet. Here’s a guide to understanding the healthy eating and exercising recommendations while you’re pregnant:

  • Food variety is the key. Variety in your diet helps ensure that you receive enough of the essential nutrients, and people who eat a wide variety of foods are healthier, live longer and have protection from some diseases. Nutrition Australia recommends you aim to eat around 20 to 30 different nutritious foods each day. Choose foods from each food group, paying particular attention to the plant-based groups (fruits, vegetables and cereals).

  • You need an adequate intake of vitamins and minerals during pregnancy, particularly calcium, iodine, iron, sodium and Omega 3 fatty acids.

  • Fruits and vegetables aren’t just a good source of vitamins and minerals; they’re also high in dietary fibre, which is very important during pregnancy to help reduce constipation. Vegetables are high in vitamins A and C and folate, as well as iron. Fruits, too, contain healthy amounts of vitamins A and C, as well as potassium.

  • Breads and cereals provide complex carbohydrates, which are long-lasting energy sources. Grains are also a good source of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Choose whole grains when possible.

  • Foods rich in protein and calcium include meat, chicken, fish, eggs and milk products, such as cheese, yoghurt and, of course, milk. Eat moderate amounts of these foods.

  • Cut back on fats, oils and sugar. Foods containing these yummy but less nutritional substances include chocolate, lollies, many desserts, butter, mayonnaise and salad dressings. Look for low-fat varieties of these foods in your supermarket, but remember that even though they may be lower in fat, they often still contain lots of sugar.

  • If you’ve a moderate exercise routine, continue on. If you’ve been pretty sedentary, don’t suddenly plunge into a strenuous program — ease in slowly.

  • Forms of exercise that are usually safe to continue through pregnancy include pregnancy, low-impact or water aerobics, cycling, swimming and yoga. Avoid exercising flat on your back for long periods of time — doing so may reduce blood flow to your heart — and listen to your body. Modify your program according to what you can reasonably tolerate.

  • Try not to overheat or become dehydrated while exercising during pregnancy and, if you feel fatigued, dizzy, faint or nauseous, stop. If you experience contractions, vaginal bleeding or any significant pain, also stop exercising immediately and call your doctor or midwife.

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