4 September 2017

Having a baby in Canberra

| Emma Davidson
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Finding out you’re pregnant can be a rollercoaster of emotions, whether it’s a planned or unplanned event. There are more than 5,500 women giving birth in the ACT each year. That’s a lot of women needing to make decisions about maternal health and wellbeing.

There’s a lot of decisions to make when you’re having a baby: where to have the baby, exercise and nutrition, breastfeeding, birth plan, emotional wellbeing, and more. In 2016 the Women’s Centre for Health Matters published the Women and Maternal Care in the ACT Consultation Report. The report was based on women’s stories about pregnancy, birth, and post-birth care in the ACT. Women said that they found it difficult to navigate the various sources of information about pregnancy and maternity care in Canberra. What they wanted was one website that had everything they needed to know about their local options.

In the words of one of the women who participated in the consultations, “(I needed) something central that just lays out the difference between the services.”

Launched on Monday 4 September by ACT Health and Wellbeing Minister Meegan Fitzharris, Having a baby in Canberra will be a useful information resource for women who are planning a pregnancy, in early pregnancy, during pregnancy, or up to six weeks after the birth, as well as their partners and families.

“As a mother myself, I know that pregnancy, birth and the post-natal experience can be challenging, especially for first-time parents,” Minister Meegan Fitzharris said about the new website.

Information on the website has been provided by a wide range of public and private service providers in Canberra and Queanbeyan. The website was developed by the Women’s Centre for Health Matters, and will be maintained into the future as a resource for ACT women.

There is information on the website addressing the needs of young women, same sex couples, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, single parents, and women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

The website includes information about genetic counselling, IVF, breastfeeding, tests and ultrasounds, complications during pregnancy and labour, domestic and family violence, multiple births, physiotherapy, prenatal yoga, relationships, premature birth, and more. The sections on things to think about, and choice, consent, and decision making, are a great starting point for women who are wondering where to start in finding the right information for their needs.

Check out the website and please do pass it on to women you know who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy: www.havingababyincanberra.org.au

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