FAQ-580x363Most women who are expecting a baby have a lot of questions about their pregnancy and their health care. Here are the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.

Family doctors, obstetricians, and registered midwives all provide excellent pregnancy and birth care. Women in Vancouver have the option of choosing any one of these care providers. The family doctors listed on this site have made maternity care a special interest in their practice. A family doctor’s unique expertise lies in their knowledge of and focus on a woman’s entire health and that of her family. We are trained to provide care for all aspects of family health such as treating a child’s infection or helping a partner to quit smoking. Family doctors are also experts in breastfeeding and newborn care, and although the scope is mainly normal pregnancy and birth we are able to care for some complex conditions due to our general medical background. Some family doctors offer ongoing care to a woman and her baby after the maternity care has ended at 6 weeks. If a maternity FP is not able to provide ongoing care we are usually able to work to help find a family doctor.

Obstetricians are physician specialists with extra training in surgical procedures as well as care of high risk or complex pregnancies such as twins or a premature birth. Some obstetricians offer care for women with normal pregnancies. Obstetricians refer to a paediatrician for newborn care.

Registered Midwives are well trained and have expertise in normal pregnancy and can provide care for birth at home. They provide care for the newborn and breastfeeding support. Sometimes family doctors and midwives work on the same team. Like family doctors, midwives will consult with and refer to a specialist if needed.

Each woman can choose the provider that best suits her needs.

As soon as you know that you are pregnant, you should choose a care provider to care for you in your pregnancy and arrange to see them as early as possible in the pregnancy. If you are planning a pregnancy, it is a good idea to see a family doctor to discuss pre-conception care.

Look at our Find a Doctor page to select a family doctor. You can choose a doctor based on the hospital where they have delivery privileges, by language, or by where their office is located. You can then phone the doctor’s office to make an appointment. Please let them know that you obtained their name through this Website.

At the first appointment, you and the doctor will have a chance to review all the important information about your health and pregnancy, including any tests that you may have done. You can ask any questions that you have as well. The doctor may also want to talk to you about possible tests for the pregnancy, including blood tests and ultrasounds. In all your visits to your doctor, we encourage you to bring your support person.

Typically, you will meet with your doctor monthly until the seventh month of pregnancy. Following this, you will have appointments every one to two weeks. If the doctor is concerned about your health or the health of your baby, you may be asked to come in for more frequent visits. If you have any concerns, you can also arrange to come in for additional visits.

Once you have chosen a maternity doctor and seen him/her for your first visit, you will be receiving all of your pregnancy and birth care from this doctor. If you have other health issues during your pregnancy (for example, you have a cold, or a rash, etc.), then you can certainly connect with your usual family doctor.

Family doctors have a close working relationship with our obstetrician colleagues. There is an obstetrician on-call in the hospital at all times. If we feel that it would be helpful to seek an obstetrician’s advice during your pregnancy or labour/birth, we will arrange a referral. If you do require the help of an obstetrician, we will stay involved in your care.

During your first visit, the doctor will explain how to reach him or her during “after-hours”. There is always a doctor on call to deal with important or urgent concerns.

During every visit with your doctor, there will definitely be time to address your questions and concerns. Women often write questions down and keep a list. Be sure to bring your questions to your pregnancy visits. There are also a number of very good books and websites about pregnancy. Check out our Resources page for a list of helpful websites and books. You may also choose to attend a prenatal class.

Family doctors have different systems for how they arrange their labour and delivery care. Many of the doctors work in a team or group with other family doctors so you may meet a different doctor during your labour. Some practices have a way to meet other members of the team. Your doctor will discuss this with you at your first visit. Ask about on-call arrangements for birth and how to reach the doctor in an emergency.

We want you to have a comfortable and supportive atmosphere for welcoming your new family member into the world. Doulas have expertise in labour support and are excellent resources for women and their partners. You can also bring a family member or a friend to act as your labour support person. You can discuss this with your doctor.

Absolutely! We understand how important it is to maintain your relationship with your family doctor. Some time in the 6 weeks after your baby is born, you will return to your family doctor with your baby for check-ups and ongoing care. If you do not have a family doctor, your maternity doctor will try to help you to find one.

BC Women’s Hospital and St, Paul’s Hospital are teaching centres for medical, nursing, and midwifery students as well as resident doctors in family practice and all the specialties. There is a good chance that you will meet one or more learners in various stages of their education. They are generally one of the kindest and most respectful members of the team and they consider the chance to be involved with your birth a privilege. In a teaching hospital, everyone is trying their best to provide the highest quality of care.

The learners are carefully supervised and will not be making decisions without your family doctor present and discussion with you. All of us can remember being students/residents ourselves and participating in the awesome experience of helping a new member of the family arrive. We encourage you to accept learners, but if there are any concerns, please speak with your doctor.

The Vancouver Division of Family Practice (VDoFP) is an organization of most of the family doctors in Vancouver. The purpose is to find ways to improve the delivery of health care in Vancouver for the benefit of patients and providers.

Find a Maternity Care Doctor

Find a Maternity Care Doctor