A pregnancy may be planned, but for some, it might come as a complete surprise! We asked obstetrician/gynaecologist Mr Shane Duffy for advice to give to new mums-to-be to help them plan their pregnancy in the months ahead.
What should I do first?
The first thing you should do is to confirm that you are indeed pregnant. This can be reliably done with a urinary pregnancy test that you can do yourself at home. If the test shows a positive result, you should try to calculate how many weeks pregnant you are. For women with regular periods, the gestational age of a pregnancy is calculated from a fixed day, that day being the first day of your last menstrual period. You can count how many weeks it has been since that date and this indicates roughly how many weeks pregnant you are. You can also use a pregnancy calculator online https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/due-date-calculator/.
Should there be pain or bleeding?
There should be no pain or bleeding if you are having a normal pregnancy. If you do experience these symptoms, see a doctor as an emergency to ensure that you're not experiencing an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage.
Many women opt to have an early pregnancy scan, which can be arranged quite easily. Mr Shane Duffy performs a viability scan on all his patients. At ten weeks, you have the option of doing a genetic screening test with a simple blood test. If you have private maternity care, your obstetrician and gynaecologist can arrange your tests for you. If your care is with the NHS, decide what hospital you want to book your tests with and arrange an appointment with that hospital.
What is the most important thing to look for in a doctor when you are pregnant?
Deciding which doctor to see when you're pregnant really depends on your circumstances. If you’re experiencing early pregnancy complications (pain or bleeding), look for a specialist who deals with miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. If you are experiencing no complications, most obstetricians will be able to look after you. If you have any existing or have had previous surgical operations or pelvic floor problems then you should make an appointment with a specialist like Mr Shane Duffy.
What is your approach to patient care for pregnant women?
My approach is to ensure that patients are supported and fully involved in the decision-making process to help them decide the safest and most satisfying experience possible.
If it's your first pregnancy, don't panic! It's a learning experience (you have 40 weeks) and you have your obstetrician to support you and guide you through it all.
If you're booking private maternity care, here are some things to consider before choosing where to have your baby:
- Spend some time researching where you want to give birth.
- Look at how far away the hospital is from your home.
- What level of neonatal care does the hospital have?
- Which obstetrician is best suited to looking after you in your pregnancy?
If you've had a baby before, you'll have a better understanding of the journey and be fully equipped to plan this pregnancy a lot better.
If you’d like more advice for your first pregnancy, get in touch with Mr Shane Duffy and his team who will be more than happy to help.