Key role for GPs in maternity care
The AMA has said that involving GPs in maternity care leads to better outcomes for mothers and babies, in the new AMA Position Statement on General Practitioners in Maternity Care.
AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid said all people thinking about starting a family or having another baby should consult with their GP.
The AMA position statement outlines how to ensure GPs are involved in maternity care and how they can provide continuity of care to mothers and babies from pre-conception and through all the important milestones in the mother and baby’s lives.
Dr Khorshid said having a usual GP or general practice leads to better health outcomes.
“We know that best-practice maternity care is provided by a multi-disciplinary team of health professionals led by an obstetrician or GP-obstetrician in partnership with a patient’s usual GP, and includes midwives, nurses, physicians, allied health professionals and Aboriginal health workers,” he said.
“To support high-quality care for mothers, it is critical that their regular GP is involved in their care regardless of the model chosen.”
GPs provide almost all pre-conception care, undertaking the six-week check of mothers and their babies, providing immunisation, contraception, screening and referral to appropriate services. As the average time in hospital after birth is decreasing, women are now seeking advice from GPs much earlier, with issues such as breastfeeding, sleeping and parenting.
The AMA President said GPs were especially crucial in the provision of whole-of-maternity care for rural and hard-to-access groups.
As part of ensuring safe access to maternity services in Australia, it is also time for Government to act to stem the loss of comprehensive maternity services in parts of rural Australia.
The AMA Position Statement on General Practitioners in Maternity Care is available here.