Antenatal care in Australia: what is it and why it’s important?

Excerpted from SBS
By Chiara Pazzano, presented by Claudiana Blanco
Published 30 August 2022

Antenatal care aims to improve health and prevent disease for both the pregnant woman and her baby.

The Executive Director at the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health in Melbourne, Dr Adele Murdolo, says seeing a health practitioner early in the pregnancy is associated with positive maternal and child health outcomes.

“[It’s important to] book in early, as soon as you find out about your pregnancy and then having those regular appointments because antenatal care helps that health practitioner pick up whether there are any signs of any problems during the pregnancy,” Dr Murdolo explains.

According to data published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) in 2019, 55 per cent of women attended antenatal care within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.

Dr Murdolo says the latest data available show that migrant women access antenatal care at a much later point than other non-migrant women.

“The Australian government recommends that women have their first antenatal care appointment within the 10-week period. But we know that even after 20 weeks, there is 20 per cent of migrant women who haven’t accessed antenatal care.”

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