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GPs help deliver healthy babies


Every parent wants to give their child the best start in life, and your family doctor can play a vital role, AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, said today.

The AMA is using Family Doctor Week 2017 to highlight the hard work and dedication of Australia's 34,600 GPs.

"The best start in life begins pre-conception," Dr Gannon said.

"If you are thinking about starting a family or having another child, your family doctor can provide you with informed advice to help you prepare.

"Good maternal health during pre-conception and pregnancy can have a lifelong impact on infant wellbeing. For example, smoking, drinking alcohol, poor nutrition, or unhealthy weight levels can adversely affect foetal development and the mother's health.

"Your GP can advise you on recommended supplements to fortify the body before and during pregnancy to help protect the mother and baby during development and for the years ahead.

"GPs are a reliable source of information to support parents with reproductive planning, lifestyle changes, child development, health screening pre and post baby, breastfeeding, immunisation, and preparing mentally and physically for the journey ahead.

"With new mothers being discharged from hospital as early as six hours after giving birth, community-based care is becoming increasingly important and your GP is a crucial support.

"It still baffles me that the Government put together a working group to draw up a new National Maternity Services Framework without a single GP or obstetrician/gynaecologist.

"The AMA is pleased that the Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council (AHMAC) agreed last month to start afresh after finally listening to the stakeholders.

"Obstetricians and GPs share the bulk of care for women throughout their pregnancies, and leaving them out of the process was a critical misjudgement."