||Throughout most of the pregnancy, you will be seeing your health care provider approximately once a month. These visits will increase to once every two weeks in the later part of pregnancy. You may be seen by your family doctor through to the end of your pregnancy or he/she may see you up to a certain point and then transfer your care to an obstetrician.
In some medical practices, you will initially see a nurse practitioner and they will transfer your care to the family physician or obstetrician. If you have chosen a midwife, they will see you throughout the pregnancy.
You will need to give information about your health history at your first visit to your health care provider. Your partner or support person is usually welcome to attend these visits with you. It is important to feel free to ask any questions you may have or express any concerns that are troubling you. You may want to write your questions down to be sure that you don't forget what you wanted to ask.
During the early office visits, your care provider will order a variety of blood or lab tests, but will explain the purpose and results. Some tests may need to be repeated later in the pregnancy. At each visit, you will be asked to provide a urine sample and you will be weighed. Your health care provider will also take your blood pressure and examine and measure your abdomen. Once the baby has developed sufficiently, they will check the baby's heartbeat at each visit.
Because of the possibility of complications arising, it is important to schedule regular visits to your health care provider and to keep each appointment. Regular prenatal care helps ensure a healthy outcome for both mother and baby.
Choosing a Health Care Provider
Which is better an Obstetrician, a Family Physician or a Midwife? Take a look at what each can do and decide what's best for you.
An Obstetrician is a specialist trained in pregnancy, labour and delivery and can handle any complications that may arise. If you have a high-risk pregnancy - this is your best choice. Even if you are not 'high-risk' you may still choose an obstetrician.
Your Family Physician may follow you through your pregnancy, deliver your baby & provide care to both you and your baby following delivery. Some Family Physicians will provide prenatal care & follow-up care for you and baby; they will refer you to an obstetrician to deliver the baby.
A Nurse Practitioner is a specially trained nurse who may see you for prenatal care during pregnancy and again following the birth of your baby. He/She will refer you to a family physician or specialist for delivery of the baby or if any complications arise during pregnancy.
A midwife is a registered health care professional who provides primary care to women during pregnancy, labour and birth. This includes conducting normal vaginal deliveries and providing care to mothers and babies during the first 6 weeks postpartum. Midwives consult with physicians if necessary and may transfer care if required. A midwife may provide supportive care to her client if care is transferred. Midwives may practice in any setting including the home, hospitals, community or clinics.