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Just found out you are pregnant – now what?

01 August 2018

The first step after you have found out you are pregnant is to see your general practitioner (GP). One of the first questions your GP will ask is if you want to seek private maternity care. Obstetrician Dr Chris Gunnell explains what you should ask your GP about being referred.

Pregnancy and birth are life-changing experiences and as soon as you find out you are pregnant, many questions start to flood your mind.

One of the early steps in planning your maternity care is to decide if you would like to be cared for as a private or public patient.

If you are choosing private care, your GP will be able to refer you to an obstetrician of your choice.

Asking your GP for help when choosing an obstetrician

Many women choose their obstetrician based on recommendations from family and friends, or through suggestions on online parent forums.

It is important to ask for your GP’s advice as well.

Your GP can provide more information about the obstetricians who may be able to guide you through your maternity journey, and work with you to find an obstetrician who meets your medical and personal needs.

You should also ask your GP what their role is in your maternity care so you know what support is available.

You can ask your GP for a referral to a specific obstetrician or hospital

While you can ask your GP for a referral to a specific obstetrician of your choice, you can also ask for a referral to an obstetrician who they know you would like.

An alternative is to choose your hospital first and then ask your GP for a recommendation to an obstetrician who works there.

The hospital will be able to provide a list of accredited obstetricians.

There is also the option to ask for an open referral from your GP if you haven’t yet decided on a specific obstetrician. This means you can take your referral to any obstetrician you wish.

What next?

Once you have chosen an obstetrician and have a referral, you need to call their rooms and make your first antenatal appointment.

It is important that you do this as soon as possible, as many specialists are busy and their booking slots fill up quickly.

Dr Christopher Gunnell - Obstetrician and Gynaecologist

Dr Gunnell is a Perth trained obstetrician and gynaecologist who has been in private practice since 1998 and practices at St John of God Murdoch Hospital.  He has a particular interest in normal childbirth, but also has the experience and expertise to manage high-risk and complicated pregnancies and births. He provides a wide range of general gynaecological services, with a special interest in the management of menstrual issues and menopause.