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Congratulations! There are literally textbooks written about this, but I shall summarise them into 5 main pointers for you to take note of:
1. Calculate your due date
You can use this due date calculator here.
Most doctors will see you when you are about 8 weeks pregnant.
2. Take your vitamins
You need to start taking your prenatal vitamins every day. These usually contain:
- Folic acid
- Vitamin D
In particular, folic acid is really important as it reduces your baby’s risk of developing neural tube birth defects (such as spina bifida and anencephaly) by up to 70 percent. Iron is also important for your baby’s growth and development.
3. Kick your vices
Stop alcohol and smoking, for obvious reasons. If you are taking any chronic meds, check with your GP/pharmacist if you can continue taking them safely during your pregnancy.
4. Prenatal appointment
As above, gynaes will see you when you are at least 8 weeks pregnant.
Mummies usually find it helpful to bring along a list of questions. Your gynae will also want to know about any genetic abnormalities that run in your family.
He/she will also explain the screening timelines. You can read this post Dr Jasmine wrote about how gynaes have babies in Singapore for more information about screening and tests that pregnant doctors themselves always do.
5. How to choose a gynaecologist
Frankly, people usually end up with a gynae personally recommended by family, friends or colleagues. I’m assuming you may not have received any recommendations, so here are several considerations:
1. Personal preference
What’s your gynae approach towards issues which you deem to be important?
Eg. Do you prefer a natural delivery or C-section? How do you feel about pain relief, and having an episiotomy?
As Dr Jasmine pointed out in her post, birth plans are just a guide at the end of the day, and you can’t predict what a situation may necessitate.
BUT it’s useful to get some sense of your gynae’s general management of such issues.
I’ve always been big on being able to establish a good rapport with your doctor, which helps you to build trust and allay fears. If you find that you can communicate easily with your gynae, and he/she readily answers all your questions, that’s a good sign.
Some gynaes have more experience in managing high risk pregnancies. Other factors may be their experience with handling pregnancy complications, and their years of practise.
Not many people know this for some reason, but for the latter, you can find out a doctor’s number of years of practise by simply popping in his/her name in this SMC directory.
You should definitely find out your gynae’s schedule, so that you know he/she will be able to attend to any emergency needs, and see you at your regular appointments.
For some, convenience of appointments is also important ie patients choose a gynae who works at a clinic they can get to easily.
5. Where can your gynae deliver?
In Singapore, gynaes have “passes” to deliver at certain hospitals only. If the place of delivery is important for you, you should ask your gynae where they can deliver.
Costs actually vary quite a lot in Singapore, if this is a concern for you. You should also find out from your insurance provider if they cover only certain doctors.
Hope that helps!