I’m a highly experienced private obstetrician with a solo practice. My practice is structured so that, as often as possible, I can be available for you when continuity of care matters most: at the birth of your baby or in an emergency. You can be confident in the knowledge that I will be the one looking after you every step of the way.
Continuity of care is really important to me, and is paramount to the relationship I have with my patients. During your pregnancy, I arrange all of your care personally. To ensure that I always provide high-quality, attentive antenatal care and a personalised experience for mothers-to-be, I limit my total number of patients at any one time. My availability compares extremely favourably with most, if not all, of Melbourne’s private obstetricians. I focus on giving my patients the care they need when they need it. You’ll get to know me quite well during the pregnancy, and you will never feel like you’re on a production line.
I specialise in low- and high-risk pregnancy, in particular the management of IVF pregnancies. As both a fertility specialist and obstetrician, I’m uniquely placed to offer pregnancy care to women undergoing IVF. This means you can be looked after by the same clinician from the time of your fertility treatment right through to the birth of your baby. Alternatively, your IVF specialist can hand your care over to me once you are pregnant.
You need a referral letter for an obstetrician from your GP. You can book your appointment before getting a referral – just make sure you bring the letter along on the day.
Antenatal visits occur at my main consulting suites at Epworth Freemasons in East Melbourne. In some cases, you can see me at the Mercy Hospital for Women in Heidelberg.
Book an appointment here.
We’ll schedule this appointment for around 8 weeks after the first day of your last period and it will take about 45 minutes. There’s plenty of time to ask questions.
I’ll take a thorough history, perform a general medical examination and do an ultrasound, so you’ll get to see your baby on the screen for the first time. I’ll also arrange all the blood tests and ultrasounds needed, and we’ll talk about Down syndrome screening.
The frequency of your antenatal visits will be based on your personal circumstances. I schedule more frequent appointments and ultrasounds for pregnancies considered high risk. Most of my patients have frequent ultrasound surveillance in the first trimester.
Bleeding, nausea and tiredness are common symptoms during this time – sometimes having no symptoms at all can be a worry! However, we can manage morning sickness if this is a problem for you, while a timely ultrasound can alleviate any concerns you may have for your baby. You’re always welcome to call my rooms for advice at any time, even if you haven’t yet had your first appointment.
For a low-risk pregnancy, we’ll schedule standard appointments for weeks 13, 18 and 23. Others will be arranged if the need arises. I’ll perform a growth ultrasound at every appointment to closely monitor fetal growth, which ensures the timely diagnosis of issues like intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). I’ll also email a video of the baby at every appointment, and share photos directly to your phone.
We’ll schedule standard appointments for weeks 28, 31, 34 and weekly from 36 onwards, with extra appointments if needed. I’ll continue to perform a growth ultrasound at every appointment. After 36 weeks – when growth ultrasounds become less accurate – I’ll perform a fetal wellbeing scan instead to assess the growth and health of the baby. Older mums-to-be will have more frequent appointments during this trimester to monitor for pre-eclampsia and fetal growth restriction.
We will tailor a delivery plan that identifies the optimal timing and mode of delivery for you. Together, we will decide how we can best make decisions that prioritise the health and well-being of your baby while also minimising the risk of complications to you.
Throughout this process, I will also factor in any personal preferences you have, as well as your past birth experiences. I have no problem with performing an elective caesarean if this is your preference or if, in my clinical judgement, I believe it represents the safest option for you and your baby. Because of the careful assessments I make when planning for and attending to my patients during labour and delivery, my rates of failed induced labour and emergency caesarean are both low.
IVF pregnancies are special – much time, love and care has been invested in getting this far.
Though common during pregnancy, in rare cases this can lead to serious complications such as dehydration.
The most likely outcome is a normal viable pregnancy, but bleeding and pain should always be investigated.
Congratulations on your pregnancy! Now for the next big question – when is the baby due?
Pregnancy is measured from the first day of your last menstrual period and lasts anywhere from 38 to 42 weeks (approximately 9 months). Use this calendar to get an estimate of your due date.
I primarily deliver babies at Epworth Freemasons in East Melbourne and I am extremely confident that you will be happy with your care there. I can also deliver your baby at St Vincent’s Private in Fitzroy and in some circumstances, the Mercy Hospital for Women in Heidelberg.
Melbourne’s premier private obstetric hospital combines luxurious accommodation with approachable, caring staff, all set amongst the best medical facilities. The postnatal care by the midwives is exceptional and sets this hospital apart. Timely access to resources such as a Special Care Nursery ensures the safest possible environment for your baby. There’s also 24-hour access to theatre, anaesthetists and paediatricians. All patients are guaranteed a private room with a double bed, allowing your partner to stay overnight with you. If your pregnancy and delivery has been uncomplicated, you have the choice of moving to a luxurious 5-star hotel (Park Hyatt). I am almost always on site during business hours for timely review.
St Vincent’s Private has a proud tradition of safety for parents and newborns and has been providing maternity care for over 75 years. The patient facilities are excellent, and the central location convenient for visitors. St Vincent’s Private has level 3 adult intensive care unit (ICU), Special Care Nursery for babies born at 32–34 weeks or later and 24-hour access to theatre, paediatricians and anaesthetists. All patients are guaranteed a private room and postnatal care in a hotel (for uncomplicated pregnancies).
If you think you are in labour or that your waters may have broken, please call your hospital (keep this phone number handy, e.g. in your wallet and on the fridge) and they will give you instructions on what to do.
You're not alone. Read up on some commonly asked questions.
Certain medications and natural supplements can be used during pregnancy to help ease the symptoms of morning sickness or to help treat other conditions that arise. Some examples follow.
For headaches or other pain: It is fine to take two Panadol (paracetamol) tablets up to four times a day during pregnancy to treat a headache or other pain.
For reflux and heartburn: You can try simple antacids like Gaviscon or Mylanta first. If these don’t work, try Zantac (available over the counter at pharmacies).
For morning sickness/nausea: A B6 supplement and/or ginger can help. If these don’t work, there are other medications you can take, but these are either pharmacist-only medications (only available behind the counter at a pharmacy after consulting with a pharmacist) OR require a prescription. Advertising regulations prevent me from naming these kinds of medications here, but I can provide you with more details during your appointment.
For hay fever: Most hay fever tablets (e.g. antihistamines) are not suitable for use during pregnancy. However, there are a couple of brands that are okay. Again, advertising regulations prevent me from naming these kinds of medications here, but I can provide you with more details during your appointment.
**In all cases, if the problem persists, please consult a healthcare professional. And if ever in doubt about a medication, simply check with me or your GP first!
It’s safe to sleep on your back until 26 weeks of pregnancy, but after that stage you should avoid it if possible. Throughout pregnancy it is safe to sleep on your right side – it is exactly the same as sleeping on your left side.
Yes – there is no link between hair dye and pregnancy complications or developmental abnormalities.
Yes! It is safe to have a massage during pregnancy and this can be a great way to relax and ease any pregnancy aches and pains.
However, after 26 weeks of pregnancy, you should avoid laying on your back while having a massage. Massage therapists can place you on your side instead.
It is also best to seek out a massage therapist who is certified in pregnancy massage, as not all massage therapists are qualified to offer prenatal massage.
The short answer is: Yes! Flying does not have any effect on your pregnancy and flying while pregnant carries very little additional risk. The exception to this is flight attendants, because of the large amount of time spent flying.
Why do airlines have restrictions around flying?
Flying restrictions in the third trimester are more to do with reducing the risk to the airline. Airlines are worried about a woman giving birth on the plane, the risk of which obviously increases the closer you get to your due date.
Why do airlines have restrictions around flying?
Restrictions around flying while pregnant vary from airline to airline, and also according to the length of the flight.
Both Qantas and Virgin Australia allow women without pregnancy complications to travel on flights more than four hours in length up to the end of the 36th week for single pregnancies and the end of the 32nd week for twins or more.
For flights less than four hours, you can travel up to the end of the 40th week in a single pregnancy and the 36th week for a multiple pregnancy.
But both airlines require women travelling after 28 weeks of pregnancy to carry a note from their doctor or midwife confirming their due date and pregnancy details. For Virgin Australia travellers, this letter needs to be dated no more than 10 days before travel.
And if you have complications, you have to travel with a medical clearance form signed by your doctor.
What is the main health risk from flying?
The main health concern is deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. This is when a blood clot forms in a deep vein of the leg, which can cause pain, inflammation and swelling. The problem with these clots is the potential for them to dislodge and travel throughout the circulatory system, blocking blood supply to the lungs.
The risk of DVT is higher when pregnant. Being immobile for long periods is also a risk factor, so it’s worth keeping in mind for any sort of travel, including long car trips.
To reduce your risk of a DVT while travelling, make sure you keep well hydrated, stay mobile throughout the trip (e.g. pump your legs and ankles up and down while sitting) and wear compression stockings.
Why do airlines have restrictions around flying?
It’s best to call and check what you should do. Spotting does not always indicate a problem – it’s quite normal during some parts of pregnancy but a cause for concern during others.
The glucose tolerance test (or GTT) is the test that is used to diagnose diabetes in pregnancy. All pregnant women should have this test between 26 and 28 weeks.
Having maternity cover as part of your private health insurance means that you can choose your own obstetrician, so you have say over who provides your medical support throughout your pregnancy and delivers your child. It allows you to find the person who is the right fit for you, e.g. can offer the level of attention and personalised care you desire.
I believe you should have choice over your delivery plan and I have no problem with patients opting for elective caesarean births.
This post was contributed by Diabetes Educator and Registered Nurse/midwife, Jenny van Gemert MNurs GDipMid GDipEd (Facebook and Insta). What
Uterine fibroids (also called leiomyomas or myomas) are common, non-cancerous growths of muscle and fibrous tissue that can develop in
This post was contributed by Diabetes Educator and Registered Nurse/midwife, Jenny van Gemert MNurs GDipMid GDipEd (Facebook and Insta). When
Some causes of fertility problems (e.g. endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome) can be diagnosed and/or treated via special surgical techniques. Where