Obstetrics

Obstetrics

Dr Iris Wang’s obstetrics services

Bringing a baby into the world is an exciting time, but it can also be a time of uncertainty and worry – especially if this is your first pregnancy. Your body is going through lots of changes that you might not have experienced before, so it’s very important to seek out antenatal care, and find a doctor your trust.

Dr Iris Wang is an experienced obstetrician who offers a holistic obstetrics service, from pre-pregnancy planning right through to birth and postpartum care. You can book your first appointment as soon as you know you are pregnant. It should take place when you are at around ten weeks.

Many patients who have been seeing Iris for fertility treatment will continue to see her for their obstetric care. You may find it reassuring to keep seeing a familiar, trusted face – someone who knows you and your partner, and is well acquainted with your medical history and past treatment.

At your first obstetrics appointment, Iris will do a physical examination – including taking your blood pressure and weight. You will discuss staying healthy during pregnancy, your visit schedule, and your first trimester genetic screening – which will either be a screening test or non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT). These tests will be carried out at around 12 to 14 weeks. You will also be encouraged to ask any questions you may have – it’s important to be informed and to know what to expect in this time of change.

Iris delivers at The Mater Hospital, North Sydney.

Common queries about obstetrics and pregnancy

How can I prepare for pregnancy?

To prepare for pregnancy, you should aim to be as healthy as you can be. This means eating a healthy, balanced diet, doing regular exercise (it doesn’t need to be strenuous), and avoiding smoking, alcohol, and other drugs. It is recommended that you take 0.5mg of folic acid and 0.15mg of iodine for at least three months before becoming pregnant, and pay a visit to your GP. They will check your immunisation for rubella and chickenpox (and you will need to be immunised before falling pregnant). Any pre-existing medical conditions should be well controlled and stable before you fall pregnant.

Do I need to make changes to my diet?

Many women have concerns about foods they need to avoid during pregnancy. Apart from a few absolute nos, the underlying rule is to eat a healthy, balanced diet and to eat for one person, not two. There is no reason why you can’t be a vegetarian during pregnancy.

The main foods to avoid when expecting are soft cheeses (such as camembert and brie) and uncooked meat (including sandwich ham, sashimi and sashimi used in sushi). Cooked cheeses (like cheese on pizza) and cooked ham (as used sometimes in fried rice) are fine.

Otherwise, follow general principles about food handling, preparation and storage. Salads, fruits and vegetables should be fresh and properly cleaned. Leftover meat should be stored and re-heated properly (to steaming hot) only once before eating. Always wash your hands well after dealing with pet litter or children’s nappies.

The NSW Department of Health provides very comprehensive advice on food safety for pregnant women, which you can view here. If you have concerns, you should bring them up with Iris – she will be able to give you the guidance you need.

What exercise should I do during pregnancy?

Generally, exercise during pregnancy is good for both you and your baby. If you already do regular exercise, you should keep it up at about 50-80% of what you normally do. If you don’t do regular exercise, you should start a routine of gentle to moderate exercise three or four times a week for about half an hour at a time.

In some cases, for example if you have pregnancy-induced hypertension, exercise is not recommended. If in doubt, Iris will be able to give you proper guidelines for your situation.

Can I have an elective C-section?

Iris does carry out elective C-sections for patients who have been informed about the potential consequences of this decision. If you think you might want to have a C-section, you should let her know.

Many women want to go down this path because they think they will feel more in control, or they are fearful of the unknown experience of childbirth. C-sections can make it more difficult for you to give birth naturally in subsequent pregnancies. Iris will always have a detailed discussion with you about the pros and cons, answer your questions, and try to ease any worries. In the end, your final decision will be respected.

I’ve had a C-section before. Can I give birth naturally this time?

If you have had a C-section previously, whether it was elective or for medical reasons, the chance of having a successful vaginal birth is lower – but still possible.

First labours are often longer and more complicated, but they also serve as ‘training’ for subsequent labours. Your uterus retains the ‘memory’ of what to do and, as a result, your second and third labours are characterised by more synchronised contractions, making them quicker. Vaginal birth after C-section (VBAC) is harder because your uterus lacks this memory, compounded by the weakening effects of scarring on your uterus.

Most women who have C-sections do so for medical reasons. For example, your baby may be positioned feet first (breech) or your cervix may be blocked by the placenta (placenta praevia). It is thought that the chance of a successful VBAC is higher if your C-section was done for a non-recurring cause, such as the baby being in the breech position. However, if you had a C-section for a recurring cause (which are genetic, such as the baby being big), the chance of successful vaginal delivery is lower.