Pregnancy Patient Information

Pregnant women are often inundated with information from friends, family, the Internet, magazines and books.  This can be overwhelming so Gill has collated a list of resources to direct you to reputable and up to date sources of information.  These include smart phone Apps, websites and books.

Here is a list of resources that will hopefully shorten your search for information to aid in your journey.

  • Conception, Pregnancy and Birth
    Dr Miriam Stoppard
  • Up the Duff
    Kaz Cooke
  • The Australian Pregnant Book
    Dr Derrick Thompson
  • Baby Love
    Robin Barker


These are some of the questions you may have regarding your pregnancy.  Gill will be able to answer any others during your appointments.

Why do doctors talk about weeks instead of months?

A pregnancy lasts approximately 280 days or 40 weeks or 9 months and 7 days from the start of the last menstrual period. This can get confusing. As a month can be considered to be four weeks or 30 or 31 days, it is not accurate enough to describe how pregnant you are using months. Medical convention is therefore to use weeks. There is variation in how long a pregnancy lasts though, with 40 weeks being the “average” length. Delivery between 37- 42 weeks is considered normal.

Why did my due date change after my ultrasound scan?

Not all women have a regular 28 day cycle, so it is not always accurate to use the date of your last period to calculate your due date.  Some women ovulate at variable times and sometimes the bleeding that you experienced was not your period, but bleeding in the pregnancy.  Specialists in pregnancy ultrasound scanning have taken thousands of measurements in early pregnancy and from this, we know that in the early stages fetuses are close to the same size for all women.  Therefore, ultrasound scanning in the first half of pregnancy is an accurate method of determining how pregnant you are and when your due date is.  If the dates calculated from your ultrasound are similar to the dates from your last period, then we say that your due date is confirmed.  On the other hand, if the dates vary, then we use the ultrasound date.  Remember though that babies hardly ever come right on time!

How much weight should I gain in pregnancy?

This varies a lot between women and also depends on what your weight was before you got pregnant.  We have rough guides for healthy weight gain in pregnancy and recommend weighing yourself during the pregnancy to see how your weight gain compares.   The average amount gained is about 10- 14 kg.  If your Body Mass Index is low, we recommend a greater weight gain.  If it is high, we recommend less weight gain.  For women that are very overweight, it is safe to remain the same weight throughout the pregnancy, or even to lose a small amount of weight.  You do not have to eat ‘for two’ during your pregnancy.

The Mercy Perinatal BMI calculator can tell you how much you should aim to gain based upon your height and weight before you got pregnant:

When will my baby start kicking?

Your baby starts moving from very early in the pregnancy and you may have seen this already on ultrasound scan.   In your first pregnancy, you will usually start feeling the movements between 18- 24 weeks.  In subsequent pregnancies, you may notice movements even earlier.   Your partner may not feel the movements from the outside until a few months later.

What supplements should I take in pregnancy?

We recommend taking a folate supplement to reduce the incidence of a birth defect called spina bifida.  This should ideally be taken from three months prior to conception until the end of the first trimester.  If you are not already taking folate, commence doing so once you find out that you are pregnant.  If you eat a healthy, balanced diet then you do not necessarily need to take anything else.  After reviewing your early pregnancy blood tests, I may recommend an additional supplement such as iron or vitamin D.  Some women prefer to take a pregnancy multivitamin as well and this is safe.

What medications are safe in pregnancy?

It is important to check the safety of medications once you become pregnant.  If you take regular prescription medications, then it is best to see your General Practitioner or an Obstetrician, before you start trying to get pregnant to check that they are safe in pregnancy.  Sometimes, it is recommended that your medications be changed before you try to conceive.  If you are already pregnant, then make an appointment to see your GP to get further advice.  Your GP can call me for advice if necessary.  We do not recommend stopping prescription medications abruptly without medical supervision.

If you become unwell and need to take medication whilst you are pregnant, then it is important that your Doctor and Pharmacist knows that you are pregnant.   For minor ailments, this list outlines medications that are safe to take without needing to check further:

Minor aches and pains, headache etc Panadol
Cold, sore throat or viral infection Panadol
Nausea and vomiting Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and ginger, others I will advise you.
Heartburn and indigestion Mylanta, Gaviscon, etc. Others I will advise you.
Constipation Metamucil, Benefibre.  Others I will advise you.
Haemorrhoids Ointment such as Rectinol
What tests will I have during pregnancy?

It is recommended that you have blood tests and ultrasounds at various points during your pregnancy.  My pregnancy timeline (HERE) outlines when you can expect to have these done.

When you see your General Practitioner at the start of the pregnancy, they will order some routine blood tests.  These include a Full Blood Count, Blood Group and Antibody Screen, Serology for Rubella, Chicken Pox, Syphilis, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV and a Mid-Stream Urine specimen to screen for infection.  Additional tests may include Ferritin, Vitamin D and TSH to check Thyroid Function.   Your GP and I will discuss options for screening for Down syndrome in the first trimester if you would like to do this.

Additional blood tests are done at 26- 28 weeks to screen for Diabetes in pregnancy (the Glucose Tolerance Test) and to check on your Full Blood Count and your Blood Group Antibodies.

Ultrasound Scans are commonly done in the first trimester to confirm your due date, check on the wellbeing of the fetus and as part of the screening tests for chromosomal problems if you choose to have this done.  All women then have an ultrasound between 20 and 22 weeks to closely check the fetus, determine the location of the placenta and check the length of the cervix.  Additional scans may be done later in pregnancy to check on the growth of your baby.

Towards the end of your pregnancy, around 36 weeks, I will offer screening for Group B Streptococcus.

For Doctors


Thank you for considering referring your patient to me for their Obstetric Care.  If you need any assistance or would like to discuss a patient directly please feel free to contact me through my rooms or the paging service.

I limit my deliveries to 4- 6 patients per month, so it is important that patients make a booking as soon as possible after confirming their pregnancy.