Ask an obstetrician

An obstetrician’s advice for pregnant women.

When it comes to advice about pregnancy and births, who is better informed than the health professionals who personally care for hundreds of pregnant women each year?

Melbourne-based obstetrician, gynaecologist and mum of four, Dr Amber Moore runs a busy private practice in Fitzroy and consults at St Vincent’s Private Hospital and Epworth Freemasons Hospital in Melbourne. Dr Moore has this advice for those considering parenthood.


Pregnant woman on couch

For those thinking about having a baby, what initial advice comes to mind?

First and foremost is to be as medically prepared as you can be. When patients effectively register their interest with my practice, we send a letter running through a checklist that they need to look at before they get pregnant, which includes the following:

  • Get a general medical check-up.
  • Get a general dental check-up.
  • Make sure your vaccinations are up to date. Get a blood test for viruses such as rubella and chickenpox so you can be vaccinated well in advance of pregnancy.
  • Have a breast check and a pap smear as there’s nothing more stressful than getting pregnant and finding there is an abnormality that needs to be followed up.
  • Start taking folic acid. Normally we recommend women to start taking 0.5 mg folic acid each day, at least one-month preconception.

The second thing is to make sure, from a lifestyle point of view, that you stop drinking too much coffee, stop smoking and check your private health insurance. The other thing to think about is the style of care – do you want an obstetrician, what kind of hospital do you want to deliver in and what kind of birth do you want to have? From my perspective, one of the most important things about seeing a private doctor is the choice it offers you.

What additional advice comes into play once people become pregnant?

Once it’s confirmed, you need to decide if you want to go privately – and if so, book in with an obstetrician as soon as possible and then make sure that you see your GP to get their referral to the chosen obstetrician.

How many women do you look after at one time?

I normally do between 200-300 deliveries each year, so at any one time I have up to 250 patients. It’s probably a good balance because it means you’re doing a lot of deliveries and in obstetrics, some situations don’t happen often and you need to do them often enough to maintain your skill base.

What are the most common patient concerns?

Most women are concerned firstly that there actually is a baby in there, and often don’t believe it until they’ve had their first ultrasound. Secondly, they are always concerned about the risk of miscarriage, especially women in their late 30s or early 40s. A lot of women are also very worried about what they eat and guidelines around exercise.

Is Google a friend or foe?

It amuses me when patients come in and say, I know I shouldn’t have, but I Googled this. I always tell them that it’s ok – the internet is a fantastic way to gain information, but be savvy about what sites you’re looking at. Sometimes, searching online helps people come to me with very direct, informed questions, or potentially worse case scenarios, which I can help put in context.

Need a little extra support?

Health Concierge

Whether it’s taking you a little longer to fall pregnant than you expected, or you know you’ll be needing a bit of extra help, Medibank’s Health Concierge service is there to help. You can call 1800 789 414 for support and guidance, available at no extra cost for members with residential hospital cover#. 

Got a health question? 24/7 Medibank nurse phone service

Members with hospital cover can chat to experienced and qualified nurses over the phone to discuss any health questions or concerns and get professional advice on what to do next. Our nurses are available on 1800 644 325~ for round-the-clock health advice.

Optimal me

Medibank has partnered with Monash University to create OptimalMe, a research program designed to help mums-to-be optimise their health before they conceive. The program features tailored health and wellbeing tips and personal guidance on fitness and nutrition. 

If you’re planning to have a baby in the next 12 months you may be eligible to take part.  Find out more here

Looking for something else?

Visit Medibank Planning, Pregnancy and Parenting for a range of tools and advice to help you at every stage of your pregnancy journey.

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# Health Concierge is available to all eligible Medibank members who hold hospital cover. Excludes Overseas Visitor Health Cover, Working Visa Health Cover and Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). Some referred services may involve out of pocket costs.

While we hope you find this information helpful, please note that it is general in nature. It is not health advice, and is not tailored to meet your individual health needs. You should always consult a trusted health professional before making decisions about your health care. While we have prepared the information carefully, we can’t guarantee that it is accurate, complete or up-to-date. And while we may mention goods or services provided by others, we aren’t specifically endorsing them and can’t accept responsibility for them. For these reasons we are unable to accept responsibility for any loss that may be sustained from acting on this information (subject to applicable consumer guarantees).