Feature Article

Antenatal care: common issues facing GPs in shared care

Brian Peat



The general practitioner who undertakes shared care is faced with numerous issues throughout the pregnancy. They are discussed here in a roughly chronological order, from prepregnancy counselling to post-term pregnancy.

Key Points

  • Remember to remind women about folic acid intake when they are planning a pregnancy or during early pregnancy.
  • Give practical antismoking advice and support, especially to those who are able to give up early in pregnancy.
  • For clinically stable women with first trimester bleeding, measure serial hCG levels if before six weeks’ gestation and scan with ultrasound if after six weeks.
  • Women with first-time hypertension in pregnancy need a thorough assessment including fetal wellbeing; this is often best done in a day-stay setting.
  • Routine induction of labour in the low risk pregnancy between 10 and 14 days past the due date will benefit both mother (reduced risk of caesarean section ) and baby (reduced risk of death).