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 San
MBBS, DRANZCOG, FRACGP
Dr Joan San provides advice on fertility issues, prenatal planning and testing, antenatal shared care, travelling while pregnant, postnatal and newborn examinations.
Prior to moving to Melbourne in 2007, Dr Joan spent several years working as a GP obstetrician managing pregnancy and delivering babies at a rural hospital.
Availability: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays
More information: https://www.bluffroadmedical.com.au/our-team/doctors/dr-joan-san/
Dr Kate Exon
MBBS (Hons.), FRACGP, DRANZCOG
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: (not seeing new Shared care patients in 2019)
More information: https://www.bluffroadmedical.com.au/our-team/doctors/dr-dr-kate-exon/
Dr Angela Keen
MBBS (Hons), BMBS, FRACGP, DRANZCOG.
Dr Angela is another one of our shared care doctors. She has a Diploma of Obstetrics and Gynaecology completed at the Mercy Hospital for women in 2012. She enjoys all aspects of medical care, but also has a keen interest in paediatrics.
Availability: Monday, Tuesday and Friday.
More information: https://www.bluffroadmedical.com.au/our-team/doctors/dr-angela-keen/
Dr Jo Simpson
MBBS, FRACGP, DRANZCOG
Dr 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: Mondays, Tuesdays and alternate Saturdays.
More information: https://www.bluffroadmedical.com.au/our-team/doctors/dr-joanne-simpson/
Dr Bill Walker
MBBS(HONS), FRACGP, DRANZCOG
Dr Bill has a Post Graduate Obstetric Diploma and a long history of providing obstetric care in the Bayside area. He retired from full obstetric care in 2007 but continues to offer antenatal shared care.
Availability: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
More information: https://www.bluffroadmedical.com.au/our-team/doctors/dr-bill-walker/