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Introduction to Pregnancy

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This is a funny (peculiar, not Ha Ha) piece of work. Basically it is a collection of a number of information sheets I have written over the past four or five years. This is the reason that the arrangement is by topic rather than chronology (weeks of pregnancy). There is also a fair bit of repetition but I’m not sure this is a bad thing. It is also – and I make no apology for this – a collection of factual pieces rather than what might be described as the “touchy feely stuff”.

There are a few reasons why I wanted to produce this booklet. Firstly I’m becoming amazed by the sheer volume of information you – newly pregnant women and your partners – need to absorb comparatively early on in your pregnancy. In addition you need to make some fairly big – and not inexpensive – decisions early in the pregnancy. For example, these days you need to have decided how to approach prenatal testing for chromosomal problems by the time you are nine or ten weeks pregnant.

Secondly my hope is that this material may be useful for GPs. I hope that this can assist them to advise and investigate women prior to pregnancy as well as give out some useful information to women in early pregnancy.

The third reason for providing – and distributing – this material is that it would be preferable if you had access to some of this prior to you becoming pregnant. For example if you wish to undertake Pre-pregnancy Genetic Carrier Screening then the best time is, well, pre-pregnancy (although it is easily performed in early pregnancy too). There is also not a lot of point in talking about avoiding a first trimester Listeria, CMV or Toxoplasma infection if your first visit with a pregnancy care provider is at 14 weeks.

I have tried really hard to make sure this information is accurate, up to date and supported by the published scientific literature and in some instances I have referenced important scientific papers. I have shamelessly copied from many other patient information sources and I have usually referenced these (as I say in one of the chapters it isn’t plagiarism if you mention your sources). To be sure there is a bit of opinionated opinion in here too.

I have stayed away from issues like who should provide your pregnancy care and where to give birth for the simple reason that this is covered, discussed and debated everywhere. As I like to say, “To each, their own.”

Why focus on early to mid pregnancy rather than the entirety of pregnancy, childbirth and afterwards? Simple. There is only one way to eat an elephant – a small piece at a time. I’ll get to the rest of pregnancy and birth. One day.

So please enjoy this material. I hope you find it informative and I hope you have a laugh along the way.

Rob Buist

Sydney, April 2019

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