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Your pregnancy journey, caring for you…

Pregnancy is an exciting time in your life and it is normal for patients to have questions and fears along the way. As an obstetrician, my role is to make sure that you and your partner feel educated, confident and secure every step of the way. From your first consultation, to your first ultrasound through to your postnatal visits and beyond, your care always matters.

I pride myself on listening carefully, being approachable, relaxed, and providing couples with all the information they need in order to make important decisions.  At times I am merely an observer of an uncomplicated pregnancy and birth. At other times, I detect problems and intervene to avert complications. Ultimately my goal is to have a healthy mother, a healthy baby, and for couples to have a positive birth experience.

I’ll never forget the first eight babies I delivered as a medical student in 1992. As a doctor I started delivering babies in 1996.  I have delivered over 3000 babies since then.

At the birth of a baby, I often think back to my own thoughts the first time I became a father. I remember suddenly understanding ‘this is what we’re here for’ – a statement many of my patients agree with. I look at the newborn and I know that in that child, two doting parents are already building their hopes and dreams.

Why did I choose Obstetric care?

I am constantly in awe of women as I join them step-by step along the nervous journey to motherhood. Watching families form is my privilege, and whenever it happens it is likely to be the most important thing that can happen to someone.

When a new baby is delivered, it is at that moment I often think back to my own thoughts the first time I became a father. It was when I realised ‘this is what we’re here for’, a statement many of my patients agree with. I look at the newborn and I know that in that child, two doting parents are already building their hopes and dreams.

Back in 1996 as a junior doctor I decided to train to be an obstetrician, I didn’t ask myself “do I mind training for another 6 years” . I only had to ask myself one question “would I mind being called at 3am to deliver a baby?” not a second went by before I decided that `sleep is overrated!’ I never entered medicine expecting a ‘9 to 5’ job.

 

Many colleagues ask me ‘Why are you still an obstetrician when you could be a urogynaecologist with normal working hours?’ My usual answer is that I didn’t subspecialise in urogynaecology to stop being an Obstetrician. It was the `O‘ that brought me here. The surgical skills that I have developed as a urogynaecologist makes me a safer obstetrician, allowing me to look after problems that may arise in my patients in the following years after I deliver their children. My patients are able to take comfort in this continuation of care, I am aware of my patients history and a mutual respect is already developed.

Skin to Skin Contact

Skin-to-skin contact is where babies are able to stay with their mother immediately after the birth. This is common after natural birth but has not always been common practise at caesarean section.

In recent years I have championed a process at St George Private Hospital where women undergoing elective caesarean section get the opportunity to hold and feed their baby during the completion of a caesarean section, with both parents present. I have led change by encouraging the acceptance of women keeping their baby with them in recovery. This is an option for parents, with exceptions being emergency caesarean sections and babies who are unwell or need monitoring in the special care nursery.

By keeping babies with their mums, the possibility of breastfeeding within the first hour increases substantially and improves bonding.

Pregnancy Visits (Antenatal Care)

I approach all pregnancy care with an awareness of the future of the mother, in order to minimise or prevent conditions such as prolapse and pelvic floor disorders. I begin to consider preventative techniques for women during pregnancy, and give post pregnancy advice on Pelvic Floor Muscle Training, my years of training and experience has instilled the importance of addressing these conditions early in a women’s reproductive life.

Labour Support

Much of my research has focused on minimising the occurrence of severe perineal tears. During labour I work with my patients ensuring we employ strategies to minimise the occurrence of these.

Postnatal Support

It is routine for a new mother to visit her obstetrician at around 6 weeks following the birth of her baby. However, I am accessible to mothers any time in the 6-week postnatal period. I have a particular concern for women’s mental health during this postnatal period and am available at short notice for any particular problems.

At the 6-week postnatal visit, we discuss maternal issues such as pelvic floor health, bladder and bowel issues. Contraception is another popular topic of discussion. It is always a pleasure for me to meet mums at this stage of their lives, to meet their baby again and observe their baby’s growth.

4D Ultrasound Machine

I have a high quality 4-D ultrasound machine in my consulting rooms. While some formal ultrasounds at imaging centres are still required during a pregnancy, this service allows couples to view their baby in the comfort of my consulting rooms and often avoid excessive appointments to imaging centres.

Placing my ultrasound probe on a newly pregnant woman’s tummy, might be the first time a women lays eyes on her unborn baby. I often witness tears of joy, getting to be a part of this is very special.

Pregnancy Timeline

First Antenatal Visit

This occurs somewhere between 7-10 weeks. Please note that this is the number of weeks since the first day of the last normal period.

At that first visit I like to place an ultrasound on my patient to see if all is well. I counsel women about weight, diet, exercise, Down Syndrome Screening, and booking into their chosen hospital.

2-5 Months

I generally like to see all of my patients every 4 weeks to ensure the pregnancy is running smoothly.

20 Week Visit

At the 20 week visit a morphology ultrasound is undertaken looking at the anatomy of the baby

28 Week Visit

At 28 weeks, Glucose Tolerance Tests are undertaken looking for women with Gestational Diabetes.

7- 8 Months

After the 28 week mark, visits become more frequent usually every 2-3 weeks.

I have a high resolution 4D ultrasound in my office. I often use the ultrasound during patient visits if I have a clinical question that will improve my understanding of the wellbeing of a fetus, or enhance the experience of parents-to-be.

Full Term- 9 Months

At 36 weeks, visits will occur weekly until the birth of the baby.

Useful Patient Links

Australian Breastfeeding Association
https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au

SIDS AND Kids Safe Sleeping Foundation
https://rednose.com.au/section/safe-sleeping

Perinatal Anxiety and Depression
http://gidgetfoundation.com.au

New Baby 101 App
A resource for new parents addressing those FAQ
http://www.newbaby101.com.au/app/