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A​​fter confirming your pregnancy​ with a self-test kit, what should you do next? Very often, many women find themselves at a loss and do not know what else to do before seeing their obstetricians. 

Important

If you experience any persistent pain or bleeding during the pregnancy before your scheduled appointment, you may want to bring forward the appointment date so that an urgent assessment of the pregnancy can be done to exclude miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy that is outside the womb). 

Start Folic Acid Supplementation 

Firstly, start supplementation of folic acid (5 mg a day). It is important to note that folic acid is recommended in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy​ to reduce the risks of spinal cord abnormalities. 

You can buy these tablets over the counter without a prescription and before your appointment with your doctor.​ Folic Acid is sold at your local pharmacy.

​​​No Raw Sushi Please 

Avoid eating raw food or unprocessed dairy products to prevent gastrointestinal infections, which may affect your baby. 

Keep Your Exercise Regime​ to a Moderate Pace 

Exercise is safe in pregnancy​. However, not all forms of exercise is appropriate. Swimming and walking are very safe. Generally, avoid exercises that require sudden changes in posture and excessive weight bearing such as squash, tennis and brisk jogging. For more information, read the article Do’s and Don’ts in Pregnancy. ​

​​Choosing Your Obstetrician 

How would you go about choosing an​ obstetrician who would diligently look after you in the next 10 months and deliver your baby safely? 

Most women will ask their friends, colleagues or relatives for recommendations. Others prefer to be delivered by their own obstetricians who had attended to their previous pregnancies. 

These recommendations are important as a reference but obviously, just as “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder”, what is a good choice for one may not be the same for another!​ 

Delivering in a Restructured Maternity Hospital 

In a restructured maternity hospital like KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, there are specialists on duty round the clock to attend to any problems that you may encounter in your entire pregnancy. Consultation, blood tests, ultrasound scans and medications are all available at affordable rates. 

Private care is also available in the restructured hospital. You will be able to choose your own obstetrician who will look after you throughout the entire pregnancy. Of course, he/she will attend to your delivery as well. Thus, it is more personalised as your obstetrician is familiar with your medical history and condition. 

The greatest advantage of delivering in a restructured hospital is that there are in-house specialists, anesthetists and pediatricians round the clock. They wou​ld attend to any emergencies immediately and emergency Cesarean sections can be performed without delay. This ensures optimal outcomes for both mother and baby. In addition, affordable and excellent neonatal intensive care facilities are readily available.

Delivering in a Private Maternity Hospital 

Alternatively, you may also choose to be taken care by an obstetrician in a private hospital. The waiting time for your doctor may be shorter. However, the downside is that should you need prolonged hospitalisation or if you deliver a premature baby requiring neonatal intensive care, the medical bill can be extremely high. 

Be Comfortable with Your Obstetrician and Build a Rapport 

You may choose to have your pregnancy followed up in a restructured hospital or in a private clinic. The choice is yours. Do discuss this with your partner. 

As the examination and delivery involves examining the most intimate areas, you have to be at ease with your obstetrician. Choose one with whom you have full confidence that your pregnancy will be well managed with the best outcome!


Acknowledgement

Source: Dr TAN Thiam Chye, Dr TAN Kim Teng, Dr TAN Heng Hao, Dr TEE Chee Seng John, The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth, World Scientific 2008. ​