Our Services


 

Before birth

During pregnancy, an ultrasound scan sometimes uncovers an abnormality in the developing baby. This may have implications for the remainder of the pregnancy, the birth of the baby and his/her care in the first weeks of life. At the request of an obstetrician, we will meet with the family, explain the significance of the abnormality that has been found and make a plan for the care of the baby. These consultations take place in our consulting rooms and normally take 45-60 minutes. A detailed plan for management is then drawn up and communicated back to the referring obstetrician with a copy to the family.

 


 

At birth

Sometimes, it is necessary to have a paediatrician present for the birth of a baby. This is to ensure that a baby starts regular breathing and establishes a normal circulation immediately after their umbilical cord is cut. The need for a paediatrician to attend a birth is often clear weeks earlier but sometimes it only becomes clear just prior to birth. Common scenarios are described below:

  • Elective Caesarean section -your obstetrician’s secretary will arrange with our clerical staff for one of us to attend the birth. This may be one day or up to six months in advance! We will write to you explaining what will happen at the birth.
  • Emergency attendance in birth suite -occasionally, a paediatrician is required to be present for a vaginal birth. This may be because of twins, a premature birth, if the baby has become stressed or if the birth is anticipated to be complicated in any other way. Your obstetrician will call one of us to attend at short notice.
  • Emergency Caesarean section - quite frequently, it becomes clear during labour that it will be safer for a mother and/or her baby for the birth to occur by Caesarean section. In this situation, your obstetrician will contact one of us to attend the birth, again at short notice.

 


 

After birth

If your baby’s birth happens without any problem, there is no need for a paediatrician to be present. Your obstetrician and midwife will make sure that the baby starts breathing regularly and establishes a normal circulation. Later that day, or in the subsequent days you are in hospital, your obstetrician may ask one of us to visit you to examine your baby and then continue his/her routine medical care. This may be because of a problem being detected with the baby, at your request, or because your obstetrician wishes for your baby’s medical care to be provided by a paediatrician.

 

Having attended the birth, or having seen your baby afterwards, we will continue to supervise your baby’s medical care. As well as performing and documenting your baby’s routine newborn examination, we will continue to be available 24 hours per day in the unlikely event of an emergency. Because we share the responsibility for each other’s babies in the evenings and overnight, and at the weekend, someone other than your primary paediatrician may attend at these times. 


 


 

Special Care Nursery

In the unlikely event that your baby becomes unwell, he/she may need to be admitted to an area where closer observation and special treatment can be provided. Common reasons include jaundice requiring phototherapy treatment, premature birth (less than 36 weeks gestation), birth weight less than 2500g, suspected infection and infants of mothers requiring insulin for diabetes. Babies in special care nursery are closely observed by specially trained midwives, and may require continuous electronic monitoring, extra oxygen, and/or intravenous fluids and antibiotics.  


 


 

After discharge from hospital

When a baby is born, the local council of the suburb of their parents home address is notified and a Maternal and Child Health Nurse (MCHN) in that community is assigned. Within one week of going home, the MCHN will visit you and your baby at home, check that you are well, and that your baby is feeding well and putting on weight (if this does not happen, please contact your local council). Subsequently, the MCHN will arrange a program of visits for your baby at your local Maternal and Child Health Centre.

 

Most babies feed well, put on weight and have no active medical problems. These healthy babies do not need to come back and see a paediatrician but all babies need a routine check at six weeks to ensure that their newborn examination has remained normal. A GP is the ideal person to perform this examination. If you don’t have a GP in your area, ask your MCHN or a friend in the area who has children for a recommendation. Every baby, infant and child should have a local GP in case they develop an illness that requires a timely review in the community.

 

If your nurse is concerned about your baby, she may recommend that you see either your local general practitioner (GP) or come back to see the paediatrician who saw your baby in hospital. In an emergency, she might even send you to hospital with your baby.

  • Telephone support - Very simple problems may be able to be sorted out over the phone by discussion with one of our highly trained staff. Less simple matters may require a chat with your paediatrician. However, it is very difficult to give advice without actually seeing your baby so you may need to visit your MCHN or GP in the short-term while arrangements are made for you to come back and see your paediatrician. 
  • In person - If your MCHN or GP suggest you come back to see your paediatrician, please ring our friendly clerical staff who will ask some simple questions to establish how urgently your baby needs to be seen. While a few appointments are kept aside to allow really urgent matters to be addressed within a few days, non-urgent problems typically will be assigned an appointment within two to four weeks.