This is exciting news, but it’s also normal to feel overwhelmed and confused at times too. That’s why having a guide on what to expect over the next 40 weeks can help you feel better prepared for the changes to come. We’ll start with the life admin essentials you need to take care of first, and then outline the major medical milestones you can expect, from conception right through to delivery.
First, check your private health insurance.
Many of us take for granted that our private health insurance will cover everything we need, but there is variation in what policies provide for. It’s important to check your policy and the costs and benefits you are covered for before seeking a referral to a private hospital.
Research and choose the type of maternity care you want.
If your health insurance provides for private care, you have the opportunity to choose your own obstetrician. Choosing who will deliver your child can give many women a greater sense of ease at one of the most important events of their life. During your pregnancy, an obstetrician will provide antenatal care, and be there to deliver your baby, ensuring the optimal health of you and your baby. Because you'll be seeing your doctor many times throughout your pregnancy, it's important to trust and feel confident in your doctor.
Frances Perry House works with highly qualified, experienced obstetricians who provide a positive experience using a patient centered approach.
View our Obstetricians
Additional benefits of private maternity care.
With private health cover you have opportunity to have your own private room, have your partner stay with you and have an extended time in hospital. Many public hospitals only allow for a 24 hour stay after labour, so an extended stay can help new mothers establish how to breastfeed, feel supported in the early days, and learn from hospital staff about how to care for your newborn baby.
When is your baby “due”?
Your due date is not nine months from the date of conception. Historically the Estimated Due Date (EDD) is calculated as 40 weeks from the first day of your last period, and these days there are many EDD calculators online and apps that give you this information. In practice most women have their due date confirmed by ultrasound as this overcomes variations in cycle length and conception times. A healthy term pregnancy may finish anywhere between 38 and 42 weeks naturally.
At 4-6 weeks pregnant:
You will need to book with your GP to confirm the pregnancy, deal with any urgent medical issues and to seek a referral to your obstetrician.
Your GP is the best source of advice and support in discussing the type of care you want and where you want to deliver your child. This may be in a public or private hospital, with or without midwives, in a shared ward or in your own room.
Request a referral to the obstetrician of your choice from your GP. Your GP may also organise the scans and tests necessary in this early stage of pregnancy.
At 6-8 weeks pregnant:
You will make your first antenatal visit and hospital booking.
When you have chosen the obstetrician and hospital you want to deliver in, it’s a good idea to contact them and book in. Ring the obstetrician’s rooms and they will make an appointment for you and notify the hospital. You will usually have your first appointment about 8-10 weeks.
If attending a public hospital your GP will be responsible for your care until the clinic takes over anywhere between 12-20 weeks.
At 8-10 weeks pregnant:
Your first visit with your Obstetrician will occur, and you will book into a maternity hospital.
During this visit, your general health, family history and pregnancy risk factors will be assessed and many obstetricians will perform a dating ultrasound scan. It is worth asking when you ring to make your first appointment to see if your obstetrician will perform the scan or you may need to arrange one with your GP.
If you opt for the public health system, you'll be booking in with midwives rather than the obstetrician of your choice.
At 10 weeks pregnant:
This is when you may undergo prenatal screening and have antenatal bloods taken.
Your GP or obstetrician will discuss screening for chromosomal abnormalities, other genetic conditions, as well as organise routine antenatal investigations.
At 12-13 weeks pregnant:
This is the time when you will undergo your first trimester ultrasound. This ultrasound is performed to look at the early anatomy of your baby and investigate to see whether there are any early indicators that your baby may have a chromosomal condition. If there are any issues or concerns your obstetrician will discuss this further with you.
At 20 weeks pregnant:
You have officially reached the halfway mark. Some may start to feel the baby move at this stage. A detailed fetal anatomy ultrasound is performed at this stage to ensure the baby has developed normally and the placenta is functioning appropriately. If not already known, now is when you may find out the sex of your baby.
At 26-35 weeks pregnant:
In this period, your baby will grow significantly, and you will be busy attending birthing, breastfeeding, parenting and postnatal classes. These are all optional.
Most hospitals offer birth preparation classes and there are many others in the community as well as books and online resources. You can also often attend tours of the birthing facilities, obtaining details around arrival, how you'll be supported, the delivery timeline and post-birth care and support.
Postnatal and early parenting classes (weeks 26 – 34) are ideal so that you can build your awareness and confidence of how to embrace the first weeks of being a parent. It’s also a great opportunity to meet other soon-to-be parents.
This is also the stage where you’ll attend breastfeeding classes (weeks 26 – 35). Birthing classes are held from weeks 28 – 34.
Frances Perry House is renowned for their high standard classes, click here to learn more.
At 30 weeks pregnant:
From this point on, you should be preparing and planning for the birth. You and your partner/support person may have discussed preferences for pain relief, birthing positions, and even considered the people you want present at your baby’s birth. These preferences are all worth discussing with your obstetrician and midwife.
At 32 weeks pregnant:
By now you will have completed your antenatal preparation and will begin to have more frequent antenatal visits.
At this point also you may choose to attend a Safe Baby Program (as offered at Frances Perry House). This is a great way to ensure you know all the basics and some of the less considered advice and recommendations around making your home and lifestyle safe for your child.
At 35 weeks pregnant:
Time to pack a hospital bag! At this point, you'll probably feel a whole lot more prepared and confident knowing you have a bag ready with everything you need for hospital. Pack the clothes you need, sanitary pads and nappies, toiletries and any items you know you'll want for yourself and your baby.
At 36-40 weeks pregnant:
From now on, you’ll see your obstetrician weekly, to monitor your baby’s movements and know when to contact the hospital if you feel worried or if you feel any contractions.
Full term labour usually starts between 38 and 42 weeks, however there may be many reasons to discuss timing of delivery with your obstetrician. Your midwives and obstetrician will guide you through the labour, and support you through any choices you have to make along the way. Once your baby has been born, a combination of support will be offered by your obstetrician, your GP, paediatrician and maternal and child health nurses you will see through your local council.
Becoming a parent is an exciting and life-altering experience, but the right support and knowledge can help you learn what you need to feel confident on your journey. Your experience will be similar to others in some ways, but always entirely your own. It’s important to choose the place and people who you trust to be there during the exciting moments. And enjoy it! As the saying goes: The days are long, but the years are short.