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Whether you’re jumping up and down with excitement or you’re in a state of shock, seeing those two pink lines on a pregnancy test is the start of an emotional rollercoaster. Your brain is flooded with thoughts of what the next nine months will entail. Where will you give birth, who will deliver the baby and what do you have to do to stay healthy? Before you know it your little one will be here and your life changes forever. So, let us guide you from bump, to birth and beyond.

You’ve Just Found out You’re Pregnant – Now What?

Have your pregnancy confirmed – As you hold that positive pregnancy test in your hands, there’s a good chance you find yourself in a state of disbelief. It’s a good idea to take a second pregnancy test using a different brand to be sure, followed by a visit to your GP who will be able to confirm your pregnancy via blood test. Congratulations!

Take care of yourself – Your body is a temple, and now it’s home to a little prince, princess or both! It goes without saying that pregnancy is a time to eat healthy and nutritious foods, get involved in low-intensity exercises and it’s time to quit smoking and drinking if you were engaging in those activities.

Your health is just as important as your baby’s, so read this magazine front to back to see what options are available to you in terms of healthcare and to keep you in tip-top shape throughout each trimester.

Find out what’s in store – You’re in for quite the ride. Pregnancy can bring about all kinds of strange cravings and uncomfortable symptoms, but it can also give you that ‘pregnancy glow’ that many mums-to-be are told they have. Finding out what’s in store for pregnancy can help you feel less alarmed when you experience certain symptoms.

Plan your birthDecide how and where you will be giving birth. Public or private? Would you like to have a waterbirth, or give birth at home? What will your birth plan be? There are plenty of options to explore.

Get Educated

Parenting education classes – Parenthood is very exciting, but there is so much to learn. Queensland Health runs various Parenthood Programs for first time parents and for those who have already had a baby. These programs are held at various venues. Visit www.health.qld.gov.au for more information.

Australian Multiple Birth Association – Expecting multiples? The Australian Multiple Birth Association (AMBA) provides support on what to expect, information on common issues and useful information on raising multiple babies. Visit www.amba.org.au

Breastfeeding – The Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) holds classes for pregnant women and their partners to develop a support network and prepare for the changes coming into their lives. Visit www.breastfeeding.asn.au

Antenatal Classes – The hospital you choose will have antenatal classes, and you can also do them at your community health centre. Here you will learn about the stages of labour, pain relief available to you, plus tips and tricks for your partner to help you during the birth of your baby.

Birthing Options

The public route – If you choose the public route, your first port of call is to see your general practitioner who will schedule your ultrasound scans and any other appointments you may need. They can also refer you for midwifery led care through the public system. You will give birth at your local public hospital (Sometimes you may be able to choose to give birth at home, but this needs to be discussed with your GP or midwives).

The private route – If you go down this route, you can choose to go direct to your local private hospital where the team will organise everything for your labour, pre and postnatal care and give you obstetricians to choose from. Or you can visit your preferred obstetrician to kick things off. With either option, you will give birth at your local private hospital or home if you prefer (in some cases), but with the latter, you will visit your chosen obstetrician’s practice for your pre and postnatal care.

Doulas – With either route, you can also choose to engage the services of a qualified doula. A doula, also known as a labour coach, provides support for mothers before, during and after birth and can attend births at the public hospital, private hospital or at home.