Pregnancy

Right to Respectful Maternity Care

  • The midwife and any other medical staff who are present should talk with you throughout your labour and birth.
  • If you are unsure of anything that is happening to you, you have a right to ask them to stop and explain what is happening.
  • You also have a right to say no to care or to ask for more information before saying yes to any procedure or intervention. This is called informed consent.
  • You have a right to an interpreter during your birth and to request that the interpreter be a woman, if possible.

Right To Care

Respectful Maternity Care Charter

5 Approaches to Respectful Maternity Care

Video: Respectful Maternity Care

  • You have the right to decide when to get pregnant.
  • It is important to think about this before you decide when and if you want to have children.
  • If you do wish to become pregnant your health is important, so make sure your body is getting the nutrients it needs to sustain a healthy pregnancy.
  • If you do not wish to become pregnant it is important to know your options regarding

birth control and unplanned pregnancy

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Preparing for Pregnancy

  • Some woman may get pregnant easily, others may find it takes a long time and may have one or more miscarriages before they have their baby.

    • This is not something to be ashamed of and you can seek help from your GP.
    • Shifra’s section on Complications in Pregnancy discusses pregnancy loss in more detail.

Preparing for pregnancy

Preconception care

Fertility treatments

Access fertility fact-sheets

  • Speak to your local doctor/GP or maternal child health nurse about your wishes as they suggest healthy diet and exercise plans to assist with getting and staying pregnant.
  • Your body mass index (BMI) is commonly used to assess if a person is underweight, healthy weight, overweight, or obese.
  • If your BMI falls in the overweight or obese category, creating a healthy eating and exercise plan can help you reach a healthy weight prior to getting pregnant.

Weight and fertility

Calculate your BMI here

Raising Children Network - Healthy pregnancy for women who are overweight

Raising Children Network - Healthy eating for pregnancy: in pictures

Raising Children Network - Nutrition and Lifestyle Articles

Healthy Eating Guide The first trimester consists of the first three months (12 weeks) of pregnancy. The first trimester often brings with it uncomfortable symptoms like nausea (feeling sick), vomiting, and tiredness due to changes with your hormone and blood circulation.

Image courtesy of: https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/sites/default/files/content/The%20Guidelines/n55agthelarge.pdf

  • Certain medications, drugs and alcohol can also affect your ability to get pregnant or maintain a healthy pregnancy so speak to your GP if you use any of these.

Raising Children Network - Alcohol and Pregnancy

Raising Children Network - Smoking and Pregnancy

  • Your medical team is there to support you, not to judge you.
  • You have a right to see a different doctor, nurse or midwife if you don’t feel safe or comfortable with the one you currently have.

Finding out you’re pregnant

  • Pregnancy is usually confirmed after you have missed your period.
  • To determine how many weeks pregnant you are (this is known as your “gestation”) the doctor or nurse will ask you of the first day of your last menstrual period (monthly bleed).
  • Normal pregnancies last 40 weeks and most babies are born between 38-42 weeks.
  • Some women will take a home pregnancy test and then confirm this with a blood test and an ultrasound with their local GP.
  • If this pregnancy is unplanned and you would like to talk about your pregnancy options you can visit Shifra’s Unplanned Pregnancy section and also speak to your local doctor or maternal child health nurse.

Newborn Child Weeks

How to Use a Home Pregnancy Test

Pregnancy and birth, now you are pregnant

First Trimester

  • The first trimester consists of the first three months (12 weeks) of pregnancy.
  • The first trimester often brings with it uncomfortable symptoms like nausea (feeling sick), vomiting, and tiredness due to changes with your hormone and blood circulation.

6 Week Pregnant

12 Week Pregnant

Raising Children Network - Pregnancy: Week by Week

Raising Children Network Video: First Trimester

Second Trimester

  • The second trimester consists of weeks 13-26 of pregnancy.
  • During this time period some symptoms from the first trimester should get better.
  • You will also begin to develop a bump as the baby and uterus grow upward into the abdomen (your tummy).

20 Week Pregnant

Raising Children Network - Pregnancy: Week by Week

Raising Children Network Video: Second Trimester

Third Trimester

  • The third trimester of pregnancy starts at week 27 and continues to birth.
  • During this trimester it is normal to be uncomfortable due to the extra weight and you may have difficulty sleeping.
  • Sleeping on your left side helps you and your baby’s blood and oxygen flow.

30 Week Pregnant

40 Week Pregnant

Raising Children Network - Pregnancy: Week by Week

Raising Children Network Video: Third Trimester

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Pregnancy Support and Education

  • You have a right to have a support person with you during your pregnancy appointments. This may be your partner, a family member or friend, or a doula (trained birth companion).
  • Professional doulas charge fees for their service.

    • In Victoria, Birth for Humankind offers a free doula service for women who are economically disadvantaged and meet at least one following criteria:
    • at risk of perinatal depression and anxiety
    • under 25 years of age
    • experiencing homelessness
    • a refugee, asylum seeker or newly arrived migrant (within 5 years)
    • has a history of mental illness, drug and alcohol misuse, trauma and abuse issues
    • of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent
    • lacking a birth support person
    • Birth for Humankind also offer parenting classes for young mums under 23 years old and offer a class on Navigating the Maternal Health Care System for refugees, new migrants and other non-English speaking communities.
  • You can make a referral for yourself or someone else here.

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  • As you get closer to your due date it is important to attend birthing and parenting classes to ensure you are ready to deliver and care for your new baby.
  • If you can’t afford these classes or don’t feel comfortable attending these for any reason, reach out to your midwife or social worker.
  • There are services which offer free classes and support.

    • New To the Tribe offers pregnancy and parenting classes for parents who can afford them. For every two programs purchased, they are able to provide one program for free to someone who would otherwise go without.

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Care During Pregnancy

  • Pregnancy can be both an exciting and stressful time for a woman and her family.
  • Understanding what to expect helps reduce the worry and fear that often surrounds childbirth and becoming a parent.
  • It is also important to see your doctor or midwife regularly so that can check on your health and your baby’s and get you more help if anything isn’t normal
  • Your pregnancy care (also known as “antenatal care”) should be provided by a small group of healthcare professionals with whom you feel safe, respected and comfortable.
  • Specialist doctors and midwives can be brought into the team if you develop any problems.