No matter how unplanned your pregnancy may be, now is the time to start planning.
If you've decided to continue with an unplanned pregnancy it's likely you're not entirely prepared for a newborn to come into your life in the not too distant future. Antenatal care is important, and getting your ducks in order will help ease your transition into parenthood. If adoption is something your considering click here for some state specific resources.
The first thing you should do is visit your GP. They can assist you in scheduling your antenatal scans and testing, educate you on pregnancy and birth, and refer you to an obstetrician, maternal hospital or midwifery service. It's up to you who you chose to be your primary health consultant throughout your pregnancy, and this can be largely dictated by location and accessibility. Whoever you chose to assist you will be able to work with you to develop antenatal and birth plans, as well as support you in preparing for the changes in your life once the baby is born (Better Health, 2018).
What is a Midwife?
Midwives are specially trained nurses dedicated to caring for and supporting women during pregnancy, labour and birth, and in the days after birth. For many women, a midwife is the medical professional they most regularly consult with during their pregnancies due to their specific area of expertise, availability and type of care (Better Health, 2018).
What is an Obstetrician?
Obstetricians are specialist doctors equipped to care for mothers and babies during pregnancy, labour and birth. They are trained to manage the more difficult and complex medical aspects that may be associated with pregnancy and childbirth, so it's helpful to consult with one as your pregnancy progresses. If your pregnancy is complication free, it's likely you won't need to see an obstetrician at every antenatal visit, however if you are considered in a high risk pregnancy category, you'll likely see them more often (Better Health 2018).
Pregnancy and maternal care comes under Primary Health Care in Australia. Therefore tests, medical consultations and the birth itself is largely covered by Medicare. It's up to you whether you have your baby as a private or public patient, however this decision is predominantly dictated on whether you have private health insurance and if your policy covers you. Either way, you do have choices as to where and how you give birth.
Most Australian women will give birth in public hospitals. This is largely because it's safe, accessible and affordable due to Medicare. Which hospital you go to is dependent on where you live, as well as your medical history and any cultural requirements you may have.
Some women chose to give birth in birthing centres. These are usually low risk pregnancies, and it's a good option for women who want their birth to be as natural as possible. If the birth centre is attached to a public hospital the costs will be covered by Medicare as with birth in hospital, however there may be additional costs. These will be disclosed to you prior to confirming this option.
If you live close to a hospital and want to give birth in the comfort of your own home, this is an option for you It generally involve a personal midwife, however its absolutely imperative that the pregnancy is low-risk. Most states have a home birth assistance program, so it's worthwhile looking further into this option to see if it's right for you.
One thing you can do is check if you're eligible for financial assistance from Centrelink while you're pregnant, after your baby has been born, and as they grow up. Click here to check your eligibility.