Maternal Health
Antenatal Care
Breastfeeding & Postnatal Care

Antenatal (Pregnancy) Care

If you’re expecting a baby, it’s important to understand the various pregnancy and birth care options available to you. Here are your choices:

* Midwifery-led care

With this option, the majority of your antenatal care is provided by a team of midwives. If you are healthy and experiencing a low-risk pregnancy with no complications, this option may be right for you.

* Obstetric care (public or private)

Women with more complex care requirements or complications may be referred to an obstetrician. If you have private health insurance, you may also opt for obstetric care. The benefit is that you can pick your obstetrician, and they will provide all your care throughout the pregnancy.

* Shared care

This is where we come in. Shared care involves splitting your antenatal care between your GP and a hospital or birthing centre. If you already have a great relationship with your doctor and are experiencing a low-risk pregnancy, shared care may be the way to go.

What are the benefits of maternity shared care?

  • Continuity of care throughout your pregnancy and beyond
  • More time to discuss your needs and concerns
  • Reduced wait time in a familiar GP environment
  • Ongoing postnatal care provided to you, your newborn and the rest of the family.

Providers we work with

At Bluff Road Medical, maternity shared care occurs with the Royal Women’s Hospital (Parkville and Sandringham). Dr Joan San also offers this at Monash and Peninsula (Frankston) Health. The location of the public hospital where you’ll deliver your baby is based firstly on the type of care you require (low vs high risk care, which may change as the pregnancy progresses), and secondly on your residential location as hospitals are zoned.

How does shared care work?

Throughout your pregnancy, most of your appointments will be with us, while some will be at the hospital. Usually around 8-10 appointments are scheduled with your GP, of which 3-4 visits are at the hospital.

What kinds of tests are performed during pregnancy?

Your GP will recommend a variety of screenings during your pregnancy to monitor the health of yourself and your baby. These tests may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • An initial blood test:
    • Full Blood Count, Iron, Blood Group and Antibody screen
    • Screen for infections including HIV, Hep C, Hep B, Syphilis
    • Rubella and Varicella immunity status
    • Urine test for bacterial or sexually transmitted infections – based on risk
    • Thyroid or Vitamin D – based on risk
  • An Ultrasound to confirm your due date (available from 6 weeks, ideally around 7-8 weeks, and often recommended for women who have experienced bleeding during early pregnancy or those who have a history of miscarriages)
  • Genetic Screening tests from 10 weeks onwards, tailored to the individual
    • Non Invasive Prenatal Testing – can be taken anytime from 10 weeks
    • First Trimester Screening test
      • Blood test between 10 and 11 weeks combined with the ultrasound results at 12-13 weeks
  • Ultrasound at 12-13 weeks (recommended even if not doing first trimester screening)
  • Complete anatomical ultrasound survey approx. 19-20 weeks
  • Blood test at 28 weeks
    • Fasting 2 hour – oral glucose tolerance test checking for Diabetes
    • Full blood count, Iron levels and Blood Group Antibody Screen
  • Blood pressure checks and abdominal examinations throughout pregnancy
  • Foetal heart monitoring after 24 weeks

We’ll refer you for any necessary tests mentioned and discuss the results with you.

Before You Get Pregnant

  • Supplements – Please note you may wish to start taking a pre-conception Folate supplement (usually 500mcg folate) and Iodine supplementation in the month prior to conception, or as soon as you see a positive pregnancy test until the end of pregnancy or as advised by your GP.
  • If you eat a balanced diet, you are unlikely to require regular multivitamin supplementation during your pregnancy.
  • Genetic Carrier Tests – You may wish to discuss with your partner and consider having a carrier genetic screening test (preferably done before they get pregnant),  and women can organise this themselves via the Victorian Clinical Genetics Service (VCGS).
  • Further general and reliable information at the Royal Women’s Hospital Website.

How is the information shared?

Information is shared between the GP and hospital via a patient care folder provided at the first hospital visit.

Our Medical Shared Care Team

Dr Joan SanDr Joan San


Dr Joan San provides advice on fertility issues, prenatal planning and testing, antenatal shared care, travelling while pregnant, postnatal and newborn examinations. Dr Joan spent several years working as a GP obstetrician managing pregnancy and delivering babies at a rural hospital.

Availability: Dr Joan San

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Dr Kate Exon


Dr Kate has a Diploma of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. She is interested in all aspects of medicine, especially women’s health and antenatal care.

Availability: Dr Kate Exon

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Dr Angela Keen


Dr Angela is another one of our shared care doctors. She has a Diploma of Obstetrics and Gynaecology completed at the Mercy Hospital in 2012.

Availability: Dr Angela Keen

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Dr Ebony Dunne


Ebony obtained her Diploma in Obstetrics and Gynaecology while at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Perth.  Dr Dunne is able to offer shared care services to her patients locally.

Availability: Dr Ebony Dunne

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Dr Jo Simpson


Jo has a Post Graduate Obstetric Diploma. She attained the St Margaret Medal while completing the qualification. Dr Jo’s special interests include women’s health, shared care, family planning, infant sleep dysfunction.

Availability:  Dr Jo Simpson

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Dr Bill Walker


Bill  completed his Post Graduate Obstetric Diploma in 1984 before joining Bluff Road in 1988. He continued with Obstetrics for 20 years, and is actively involved with antenatal shared care through Sandringham Hospital. He also does Mirena insertions and removals.

Availability:  Dr Bill Walker

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