What is Shared Care?
Shared Care is pregnancy planning between yourself, a GP and a chosen birthing hospital or other arranged birth setting. You will see your GP for most pregnancy appointments, and you also have appointments at the hospital you wish to birth at. This is instead of seeing a private Obstetrician and their midwife.
In Australia, GPs who provide shared care must have extra training and qualifications and a special agreement with a birthing hospital or other birth settings.
Why some women prefer Shared Care
Some women like GP shared care because they’re familiar with their GP, who know their medical history, and the care is usually closer to home.
If English is your second language, your GP might speak your first language or use an interpreter and know about your cultural needs.
Often women like to have the same GP care for them during their pregnancy and their child after birth and throughout childhood.
A GP who you are familiar with, will know you and your family, can help you make good choices about your journey throughout and after the pregnancy and your family’s health care.
Arranging Shared Care
If you’re interested in Shared Care, check that your GP offers this service and is recognized with your hospital of choice or other birth setting.
Your antenatal visits are a great way to learn how your baby is growing and what is happening to your body. Frequency of appointments will vary from patient to patient but the timeline of check-ups is:
- Weeks 4 to 28 of pregnancy. An appointment for check-up every 4 weeks (once a month).
- Weeks 28 to 36 of pregnancy. You will be required to attend a check-up every 2 weeks (twice a month).
- Weeks 36 to 41 of pregnancy. You will be required for one check-up every week (once a week).
- Your blood pressure is checked;
- Any symptoms or signs of Pre-Eclampsia will be investigated;
- Your GP will feel your abdomen to measure how much your baby has grown, positioning of baby and listen to your baby’s heartbeat;
- Sometimes you may be weighed, have blood taken for tests and may have your urine checked;
- Any scans that GP may request be arranged including NIPT at earlier stages of pregnancy (10 weeks onwards);
- Your GP will prepare the Shared Care by sending a referral to the hospital, around the 12-week mark of pregnancy to get the ball rolling;
- Any blood test reports, scans or notes will be sent to the Hospital or Birth Setting. You will receive a ‘Pregnancy Health Record’ which will be accessible between your chosen Public Hospital or Birthing Setting and your GP to correspond and continue share of care together.
Your due date & follow up appointments.
An average pregnancy can be 37–42 weeks.
The average length of pregnancy is 280 days or 40 weeks, from the first day of your last menstrual period. Your GP will require you to see you for post-natal care follow-up and check-up.
It is also very important to see your GP for a health check-up 5-7 days after birth and also 6 weeks after, with yourself and your little one.
Private Midwife opportunities
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