Thursday, May 30, 2013

Keep Your Appointment

Working with pregnant patients for over thirty years, I have often been asked what is the use of the many prenatal visits when it appears that so little is accomplished.A very long wait to be called back for a very short time. Weights, blood pressure, urinalysis, fetal heart tones and fundal height measurements. Another long wait for the doctor who is in and out in no time and the parking garage charges are not re-embursed.

Patients assume there is going to a heart beat since their baby has been beating them up all night. They weigh themselves and don't want anyone to know how much they weigh anyhow.They figure their blood pressure is great since they feel good and have never had a problem with it before. It's clear that the baby is growing because they are constantly going up a size at the maternity store.

Now there is a study that concludes that there is indeed a significant rise in fetal mortality when a regular schedule of prenatal appointments is not adhered to by patients. The World Health Organization Antenatal Care Trial provides, after a century of just blind faith, clear proof that routine antenatal visits for healthy pregnant women do really make a difference in pregnancy outcomes.

Our patients may not think that these monthly and then weekly visits accomplish very much but now there is definitive statistical evidence. Healthcare providers are well- schooled in what to look for at these visits that  patients assume are meaningless little checks. There are specific maternal and fetal makers looked for at specific times in a pregnancy. All you have to do is keep your appointment. Bring a book and schedule for the first appointment of the morning or after lunch in the afternoon.