Perhaps you've got the pregnancy test in your hand and you've just found out that you're pregnant! Congratulations! This is the beginning of a long, exciting, fantastic, fun, sometimes tough and tiresome journey. Welcome aboard!

One visit to the toilet has changed your life and now you've got the result that is guaranteed to turn it upside down So it's not really surprising that you find it all hard to believe But the test has spoken – you are pregnant! Now it’s time to think about choosing an LMC

Choosing an LMC
It’s a good idea to start thinking about who will be your lead maternity carer (LMC) as soon as you can now as there can be shortages in some parts of the country and the earlier you start, the more choice you will have

You can choose a midwife, a specialist or a GP to look after you Midwives and GPs are fully Government-funded while a private obstetrician can cost around $3500-$4000, but this will vary
Make sure you have lots of information, your expectations are realistic and you start your search as early as you can The person you pick will look after you during your pregnancy, the birth and the first few weeks after the birth

You can download a list of questions to ask your LMC from wwwhealthedgovtnzThis website also contains information on what to expect from your LMC Lists of local midwives are available from your GP, the front of the phone book, the College of Midwives’ website (wwwmidwifeorgnz) and the Ministry of Health phoneline 0800 MUM2BE

Take your partner to the first appointment
The first visit to your LMC is special This is when your LMC will ask you and your partner questions about any medical problems in your families Remember this is not the time to hide things, for example, if you’re a smoker You’re not the first, nor the last She’ll give you the support you need to stop

The visit to your LMC is also an opportunity to ask and get answers on whatever you are thinking about or worrying about

What can you expect
Your LMC has two main roles – monitoring and support Most women have between seven and 10 antenatal visits, with the usual schedule being monthly visits until 32 weeks, then fortnightly until 36 weeks and weekly until the baby is born

Your LMC is one of the more important people during your pregnancy, so if you feel like you don’t connect, or you’re unhappy, you should find someone else

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