General Practitioner (GP)
Role of the GP
Once you have taken a pregnancy test and had a positive indication that you are pregnant, it is advisable to visit your General Practitioner (GP). He or she will repeat the pregnancy test to confirm the pregnancy. The GP can also give you an indication of how many weeks pregnant you are. This is calculated using the first day of your last period. The GP will also perform routine pregnancy blood tests. A full blood count (FBC) is performed in order to get a baseline level of haemoglobin; this is repeated again at 28 weeks and if necessary during your pregnancy.
A blood group is performed to determine your blood group status, and most importantly your Rhesus status. Infectious disease blood tests, i.e. HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, Syphilis are performed to screen for the most common infectious diseases in pregnancy. Although these are rare if they are diagnosed early, treatment can be given to prevent transmission from mother to a baby.
Your GP will make a referral to the maternity hospital to arrange your booking visit at 12-16 weeks' gestation.
Depending on your medical history, your GP can also organise an early pregnancy ultrasound in the hospital from approximately 8 weeks gestation onwards. However, if you have any concerns prior to your booking visit it is advisable to see your GP and they will decide if you need further medical attention.