3 years ago

Pregnancy is an exciting time for any mum-to-be, but it can also be a little overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to seek support during your pregnancy to ensure the wellbeing of both you and your baby and to make your pregnancy journey as enjoyable as possible.

Antenatal care

When you become pregnant, you should make an appointment with your GP to schedule the appointments you will need during your pregnancy – this is called antenatal care. 

Antenatal appointments are important as they track the growth and overall health of you and your baby. It’s also a way for your GP to identify any potential risks. 

During your appointments, take the opportunity to ask your GP questions about your pregnancy; perhaps the growth milestones your baby is reaching during each trimester or any specific symptoms you may be experiencing or are concerned about. 

If you feel you’re in need of mental health support during pregnancy, speak to your GP about this too. 

Postnatal support 

Following the birth of your baby, you begin the ‘postnatal’ stage of your pregnancy which goes for approximately six weeks after birth. Life with a newborn can be challenging, so seeking support from your GP during this time is important. 

6 week check up for your baby 

When your baby reaches 6 to 8 weeks of age, you will have an appointment with your GP so they can assess your baby’s growth and development. During this appointment, your child’s hearing, vision, height, weight and head circumference growth will also be assessed. Your baby will also receive the 2-month immunisations. 

This check up appointment is also a good opportunity to speak to your GP about any concerns you may be having with your baby, including any issues with breastfeeding, crying or fussing or colic issues. 

6 week check up for you 

The 6 week check up is also about checking in on your health and wellbeing postpartum and discussing any physical or emotional issues you may be having. During this appointment, your GP may do some standard checks (such as your blood pressure) and also feel your stomach to make sure your uterus has contracted down properly. Your GP may also examine you further if you’re concerned about blood loss, healing from a tear or issues with a caesarean wound, or discomfort with your breasts. 

In addition to physical challenges post-birth, your GP will also check in on your mental health and speak to you about postnatal depression. 

What is postnatal depression? 

Postnatal depression impacts approximately 1 in 7 women and refers to feelings of depression that develop after giving birth. Many women experience the ‘baby blues’ in the first few days after childbirth and may feel anxious, teary and generally moody over this time. If these feelings last longer than a week and are getting worse, you may be developing postnatal depression. 

If you’re unsure whether you’re experiencing baby blues or something more serious, common symptoms of postnatal depression can include:

  • A very low mood
  • Feeling anxious or worrying excessively about your baby 
  • Feeling hopeless about the future 
  • A sense of failing as a mother
  • Having issues sleeping 
  • Feeling guilty or worthless 

Postnatal depression can affect mothers differently and you might not necessarily have all of the above symptoms.  If you’re concerned about how you’re feeling or handling motherhood, speak with your GP.  

Ongoing support

Following the 6-week check up, there are a number of ongoing appointments:

  • 4 months: Vaccinations and overall health check.  
  • 6 to 9 months: Immunisations and your baby’s weight, growth, hearing, vision and oral health will be assessed. 
  • 12 months: Vaccinations and an overall health check. Speak to your GP if you’re concerned about your child’s growth or development. 

After 12 months: Vaccinations will be given to your child at 18 months and then 4 years. At 4 years of age, your GP will also conduct a Healthy Kids Check which looks at your child’s physical health, general well-being and development in preparation for starting school in the following 12 months.

Beach Street Family Practice offers comprehensive pregnancy and early childhood support services. If you’d like to book an appointment with any of our wonderful GPs, please click here.

Main photo by John Looy on Unsplash