Now that you are pregnant
Your care begins with your General Practitioner (GP), by confirming your pregnancy, taking a comprehensive health and medical history, ordering your blood tests and an obstetric ultrasound.
Your GP will write and send a referral to the Gunnedah Hospital Maternity Ward to initiate your care.
Once we have received your completed referral, including all blood test results and scan reports, you will then need to ring admissions to arrange an appointment time to have a booking- in visit. This visit will be attended by a midwife at Gunnedah Maternity Unit. You will need to make a booking in appointment with the hospital midwives for between 12-14 weeks gestation.
Where you have your pregnancy care will depend on your general health, your preferences, where you live and your previous birth experience. You will then have the option to have an antenatal visit with the midwives at the hospital at 28 weeks and 36 weeks gestation.
The midwife will also discuss the importance of healthy eating and physical activity during this visit. You will be offered a referral to the Get Healthy in Pregnancy service. The Service is open to anyone aged 16 years and over. You will be able to talk with a qualified dietitian or exercise physiologist over the phone in the privacy of your own home. For Aboriginal women or women carrying an Aboriginal baby you may be able to speak with the Get Healthy Aboriginal Liaison Officer (ALO), for your first phone call or one of your coaching calls. The ALO will talk to you about your needs and your access to services in the community before referring you to either a dietitian or an exercise physiologist for the remainder of your phone calls.
Click on the image below for more information or to refer yourself to the service.
Gunnedah Birth Suite
The Gunnedah Hospital Birth Suite is located within the Maternity Unit.
When you arrive at Gunnedah Hospital after hours, you will need to enter through the Emergency Department unless other arrangements have been made with the midwife.
Travelling to have your baby in hospital
- Contact the midwife in the Birthing Service (or your own midwife as arranged) for advice.
- Have your support person drive safely, and use your seat belt with lap belt positioned below your baby. Have old towels available to catch leaks if they occur, and an old ice-cream bucket in case of nausea or vomiting.
- In NSW, an ambulance ride can be very expensive; it is strongly suggested that you join an ambulance fund for your family emergency situations, if you are not already covered by private health insurance (this may be done through any major private health fund office or online).
- Bring your antenatal record. Your antenatal record provides us with your history and plan of management for labour and birth. Please carry it at all times, and present it to the midwife on your arrival.
Husband/ partner/ support persons in labour and birth
We welcome people who will support and encourage you throughout labour and birth. There is room for a maximum of two support people at any one time in the Birth Suite, COVID restrictions permitting.
It is the woman’s choice who supports her during pregnancy, labour, birth and the postnatal period. A doula is a layperson, identified by the woman, who provides continuous support during the antenatal period, childbirth and the postnatal period. The doula attends as an employee of the woman. Under normal circumstances each woman is able to have two support people with her in delivery suite. A doula is to be considered one of the two support people.
Hunter New England Local Health District (HNELHD) is open to the use of doulas at birth, and maternity services will facilitate a productive, receptive environment for doulas to support women. However, HNELHD clearly states that it does not accept responsibility and is not accountable for any actions or advice given to labouring women by doulas.
If there are some visitors you would like to visit you soon after the birth of your baby in the Maternity unit, we request that your visitors check at the Maternity Unit desk before proceeding to your room. This is to protect your privacy and the privacy of other women in the unit.
Enquiries while in Birth Suite
To protect your privacy and confidentiality, information is not given to people enquiring about you without your consent. We will take messages for you to contact the enquirers at a convenient time.
Video recording and photography
We respect your wish to film labour and birth. However, all staff have the right to refuse to be identified on film or refuse filming during specific procedures. Please inform your midwife of your intention to film.
There are no childcare facilities available in the maternity unit. If you wish to have your children present for labour and birth, we request you have one adult, other than your main support person to care and supervise. However, the limit of two additional people at a time will also need to be considered.
We ask that all mobile phones are turned to silent mode in the Birth Suite, and ward environments.
Keeping baby with you following birth
Your baby will remain with you following birth. Skin-to-skin is encouraged for a minimum of 1 hour after the birth or until the first breastfeed. Skin to skin contact stimulates the mothers’ production of the oxytocin hormone, which decreases bleeding, promotes bonding and breastfeeding. It allows the baby to smell, touch and know mum as well as stay warm. When the baby shows signs of readiness, he/she will be able to breastfeed.
It is strongly suggested that during this important time the baby stays with mum, rather than being handed around to other family members. The father of the baby has an important role in protecting the new mother and baby.
After your baby has fed, he / she will be weighed and measured. With your consent, Vitamin K (Konakion) and Hepatitis B vaccine injections will be given at this time.
Two arm-bands with the baby’s correct identification details will be placed on the baby’s arm – the midwife will ask you to check these details to ensure they are accurate. The identifying number on the mother’s armbands are the same as the baby’s, so it is important that you make sure the identifying numbers correspond.
The armbands are routinely checked by the midwives. Should the armbands fall off, please tell the midwife as soon as you can so that new armbands can be provided.
What happens to the placenta (afterbirth)?
After the birth of your baby, the placenta will be disposed of in accordance with NSW Health Guidelines.
On some occasions the placenta may be sent to the Pathology Department, for extra information. If you would like to take your placenta home please talk to your midwife.
Stem cell collection and storage
If you are interested in the collection of stem cells from your baby’s cord blood for possible future use, you need to organise this with one of the private companies several weeks before coming to hospital to birth your baby. You will need to organise the collection, equipment, courier service and storage with the private company.
Options of care during pregnancy
Gunnedah has a GP obstetrician led model of care. All antenatal visits are conducted by your GP.
Specialist Obstetric Care at Gunnedah Hospital Antenatal Clinic
Specialist Obstetricians are best able to care for women who have pregnancies complicated by:
- Had a previous pregnancy requiring specialist care and/or hospitalisation
- A pregnancy that is not progressing normally
- A multiple pregnancy, e.g. twins
- Diabetes and/or other conditions
In this instance, your GP would refer you to either Tamworth or John Hunter Hospital for specialist care.
AMHIS (Aboriginal Maternal Infant Health Service)
Gunnedah provides care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, and/or women whose baby will be Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. The Kadeekamballa clinic aims to provide culturally appropriate support and education during pregnancy and after birth. This service includes antenatal care, child and family health care, child health checks, support service referrals and health education and operates on a Thursday afternoon (no appointment required). You may contact the staff at Kadeekamballa directly, or talk to your GP to make a referral to our service.
Please contact : phone no (02) 67418090 or 67418000
Learn more about AMIHS
Pregnancy support services
Multicultural Health Services
The Multicultural Health Unit provides the following services to women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds:
- Health Care Interpreter Services
The Multicultural Health Unit provides professional health care interpreters for all women from CALD backgrounds. Health Care Interpreters assist women to communicate with their health professional during antenatal visits, classes, labour, postnatal period and other health-related occasions. If you need the assistance of a health care interpreter please let staff know and they will book one for your appointment.
Aboriginal Liaison Officers
The Gunnedah Hospital Aboriginal Liaison Officer is available to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.
If you or your family require assistance in accessing hospital services, please ask one of our staff members to contact the Aboriginal Liaison Officer for you.
Care and Support for women with drug and alcohol problems
Some women may still be using alcohol or taking drugs during pregnancy. It is known that this can be very harmful to the unborn child. A number of skilled, non-judgmental and empathetic staff can provide a range of support. This will greatly improve the chances of having a healthy baby. Other services include the Drug and Alcohol Team and Social Work team.
Providing practical assistance and counselling: Social Work
Social workers are part of the health care team looking after you and your family while you are in hospital.
Social Workers can offer counselling to individuals and families in all areas, including:
- Women or families experiencing difficulties during the pregnancy, such as family breakdown or financial difficulties
- Women or families considering adoption
- Information about community support services
If you wish to contact a social worker, you can contact the Social Work Department directly on (02) 67418105 or ask your midwife, doctor or other hospital staff involved in your care to contact a social worker for you.
Promoting Healthy Eating: Dietitians
Both you and your baby need extra nutrients during all stages of pregnancy and breastfeeding. Eating a nutritious diet during pregnancy promotes healthy growth and development for your baby, prepares you for breastfeeding and is important for your own wellbeing. It is important to remember that even though you are eating for two, there is no need to eat twice as much.
A dietitian can assess your diet and suggest any changes that you may need to make. This is particularly important for women who are under- or over-weight, suffer from anaemia or a malabsorption illness such as Crohn’s or Coeliac disease, follow a vegetarian diet, or are diabetic.
You can arrange to see the dietitian by asking a midwife during your Booking – in visit or hospital stay.
Get Healthy in Pregnancy
The Get Healthy in Pregnancy Service is a FREE telephone health coaching service available to anyone aged 16 years and over. You will be able to talk with a qualified dietitian or exercise physiologist over the phone in the privacy of your own home.
Your health coach could help you to:
- Eat healthily
- Get active
- Gain or maintain a healthy amount of weight during your pregnancy
- Not drink alcohol during your pregnancy
- Return to your pre-pregnancy weight.
For Aboriginal women or women carrying an Aboriginal baby you may be able to speak with the Get Healthy Aboriginal Liaison Officer, for your first phone call or one of your coaching calls. The ALO will talk to you about your needs and your access to services in the community before referring you to either a dietitian or an exercise physiologist for the remainder of your phone calls.
Discuss referral to the service with your midwife at your booking-in visit or you can click the image below for more information and to refer yourself to the service.
This service can be accessed online or discuss referral with the midwife at your booking in visit.
Helping women to move well: Physiotherapy
A physiotherapist is available to give you advice or treatment on the discomforts that may arise during your pregnancy or after your baby is born. These may include back pain, pelvic pain, pelvic floor weakness, incontinence or abdominal muscle weakness.
If you wish to see a physiotherapist, contact them directly by phoning 0267418093 or ask your caregiver to contact them for you.