- Under B.C.’s Medical Services Plan, you can choose either a doctor or a registered midwife to be your primary prenatal caregiver.
- A Midwife is a trained professional who provides comprehensive care and support during pregnancy, labour, birth and the six week postpartum period to healthy women and their newborns.
- Family doctors deliver comprehensive medical and maternity care. If your family doctor no longer practices obstetrics, he/she will refer you to a doctor who will take care of you during your pregnancy and post-partum period.
- If you know you are at high risk in your pregnancy, you should see your doctor who will also involve a specialist Obstetrician in your care.
Choosing a Doctor or Midwife - Things to Ask
- What are your beliefs about childbirth?
- Do you have experience working with women who are similar to me?
- A good prenatal care provider is familiar with the particular characteristics
and situations (family, age, religious, medical history, etc.) that may affect your pregnancy.
- What are your office hours?
- What is your vacation schedule?
- What is your on-call coverage?
- Do you work with other doctors or midwives who may be part of my care?
- How many babies do you deliver in a year?
What to Expect?
Prenatal visits to a doctor or a midwife should be scheduled about once per month in the first and second trimesters and more often in the third. Because they are part of the prenatal care and birth support team, it is helpful to have a partner or birth support person with you at prenatal care visits.
If you are new to your midwife or maternity doctor, you will be asked for a complete medical history at your first visit.
At each visit, you will give a urine sample, have your blood pressure taken, and be weighed and measured. Your care provider will also allow you to listen to the baby’s heartbeat when it becomes loud enough to hear.
At each visit, you will have an opportunity to ask questions and talk to your care provider about any concerns you have. You may want to write your questions down before your visits.
Ultrasounds are commonly performed once or twice throughout the course of a pregnancy.
Depending on your medical history and current health, your doctor or midwife may request a variety of tests. These can include blood type, RhoGAM, glucose, HIV, hepatitis B, some sexually transmitted diseases, and Group B Streptococcus testing. An amniocentesis may be conducted to detect birth defects. Non-stress tests and fetal movement counting help monitor the health of your baby.
Prenatal care involves planning for the birth. Discuss your options, plans, and wishes with your care provider.
General Guideline for Prenatal Checkups
Once you have confirmed your pregnancy, your doctor or midwife will let you know when to schedule appointments for your prenatal care.
- Week 12-13 (or after you have missed your second period – first prenatal check-up)
- Month 2-7 of pregnancy – once a month
- Month 8 of pregnancy – once every 2 weeks
- Month 9 of pregnancy – once a week